Newsom Stymies Recall, Remains California Governor

Earlier this summer, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom faced uncertainty in serving out the remainder of his four-year term, which meant the future of the state’s cannabis industry also faced uncertainty.

While California rides heavily blue during elections, a late-July poll revealed the race for the Sept. 14 gubernatorial recall was tightening and voters in support of removing Newsom from public office more energized. At that time, 50% of likely recall voters wanted to keep Newsom and 47% wanted him gone.

But Newsom picked up steam in the weeks after and kept his seat by a landslide Tuesday night, delivering a 28-point victory with 70% of precincts reporting as of Wednesday morning to stymie a Republican-backed effort that was sponsored by those who are “no friends of cannabis or criminal justice reform,” California Director Dale Gieringer said in a news release last week.

With roughly 64% of voters casting “no” ballots to the recall (with 70% of precincts reporting), Newsom claimed a victory that was more convincing that the 2018 gubernatorial election, when he sailed to office by 24 points over Republican opponent John Cox.

Less than an hour after the polls closed Tuesday night, Newsom gave a victory speech to his supporters and said:

“It appears we’re enjoying an overwhelmingly no vote tonight here in the state of California. But ‘no’ is not the only thing that was expressed tonight. I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state. We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression. We said yes to women’s fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body. We said yes to diversity. We said yes to inclusion. We said yes to pluralism. We said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians and I would argue as Americans—economic justice, social justices, racial justice, environmental justice, our values where California’s made so much progress. All of those things were on the ballot this evening.

“And so, I’m humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote and express themselves so overwhelming by rejecting the division, by rejecting the cynicism, by rejecting so much of the negativity that’s defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years.”

While Newsom defeated the recall attempt driven by GOP criticism of his COVID-19 policies—sparked by stay-at-home orders and other restrictions—those tied to the cannabis industry had a vested interest in him keeping power.

RELATED: California Cannabis Players Endorse ‘No’ Vote on Gubernatorial Recall Election

Since assuming office Jan. 7, 2019, Newsom has advanced measures to expand on-site consumption and licensed cannabis events; promote equity applicants; afford business tax deductions; allow billboard advertising; and improve and streamline the state’s burdensome regulatory system, according to

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