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Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary.
Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Last year, a Santa Cruz medical marijuana group headed by Valerie Leveroni Corral gave away $230,000 worth of cannabis to low-income residents with medical problems including HIV/AIDS and cancer.

However, California’s new pot legalization rules that took effect Jan. 1 now require her to pay taxes on such donations. If she made the same level of charitable contributions of cannabis this year, her tax would be up to $85,000. “It’s just too costly,” said Corral, director of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, which has been shut down for the last five months.

On Thursday, state lawmakers announced a new bill to exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical pot to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

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Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) speaks during an Intelligence Committee meeting.
Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) speaks during an Intelligence Committee meeting. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is raising money in Los Angeles next week. Donors will gather at a private home Wednesday for Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The reception for Warner, a former Virginia governor, is being hosted by local influential couples. It will be held at the Brentwood home of attorney Barry Porter and real estate agent Lea Porter. The other hosts are ICM Partners co-founder Chris Silbermann and creative consultant Julia Franz, and Universal Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jeff Shell and Laura Shell.

Contributions will go to the Friends of Mark Warner PAC, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Times. An attendee ticket costs $500, and prices go up to $5,400 for someone to be called a host.

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California’s elections officials have found themselves with an unexpected headache ahead of the June 5 primary: potentially thousands of cases where two voter registration forms were created for one person, errors caused by the state’s “motor voter” program that launched last month.

California’s gubernatorial primary boils down to this: It will determine whether Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is a slam-dunk winner in November — or still must fight to be elected governor.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
  • U.S. Senate race
Top L-R: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, Treasurer John Chiang. Bottom L-R: Delaine Eastin, Assemblyman Travis Allen, John Cox.
Top L-R: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, Treasurer John Chiang. Bottom L-R: Delaine Eastin, Assemblyman Travis Allen, John Cox.

Republican John Cox and Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa continue to battle it out for second place in the June primary, according to a new poll released Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The findings come after a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released this week showed the two neck and neck in the race, which will send the top two finishers to the November ballot.

Democrat Gavin Newsom, long the front-runner in the race, won the support of 25% of likely voters, with Cox winning the support of 19% and Villaraigosa 15%, according to the PPIC poll. Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach won the support of 11% of likely voters, while Democrats John Chiang and Delaine Eastin were stuck in the single digits.

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Meg Whitman help third-grade math students in 2011 in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Meg Whitman help third-grade math students in 2011 in Los Angeles. (Damian Dovarganes)

Republican billionaire Meg Whitman, who spent $144 million of her own money on her unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in 2010, is backing Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign for governor this year.

Whitman is among the co-hosts of a Silicon Valley fundraiser for the former Los Angeles mayor on Thursday night.

“From her perspective, Antonio’s better on the economy and education than Gavin [Newsom],” the Democratic front-runner in the race, said a source close to Whitman who asked not to be named to speak freely about her position. “While she’s a Republican, she supports the candidate who she thinks is best qualified for the position.”

  • Governor's race

Hot takes from the USC/LA Times California poll The new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times California poll showed that the...

Posted by Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Did you miss the new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times California poll? It showed that the fight for second place in the governor’s race is neck-and-neck between Republican John Cox and Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa. 

Los Angeles Times Assistant Managing Editor/Politics Christina Bellantoni, USC pollster Jill Darling and Robert Shrum, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics chatted about the poll on Facebook Live Wednesday, discussing what the numbers tell us about the June 5 primary.

You can watch the conversation above and learn more about how the statewide poll was conducted here.

With Democrats angling to win back control of the U.S. House, the new tax law and the failed attempt to repeal Obamacare may prove to be important campaign flashpoints against California Republicans, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she now opposes the death penalty, a surprising reversal from her long-standing support for capital punishment — a stance that helped catapault her to the U.S. Senate 25 years ago.

Dianne Feinstein built one of California’s most successful political brands by standing up to her party’s liberal wing.