The Cannabis Candidate

Dispensary owner and Costa Mesa City Council aspirant Sue Lester is ready to 'raise my hand and do what I can for what I think is right'

Although she’s yet to campaign in full force, Lester already has a website ( and a Facebook page and has begun scheduling fund-raising events, including an Oct. 2 concert at the Galaxy Concert Theatre. She’ll be walking precincts, hosting neighborhood fund-raisers and taking part in candidate forums throughout the month. Lester is running against four other candidates: Jim Righeimer, a longtime Republican Party operative; Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece; Chad Petschl, a salesman; and Chris McEvoy, an educator. Because there are two open seats on the council (Mansoor is termed out and is running for the state assembly), the two candidates who receive the most votes will win.

Lester recently sought the endorsement of the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association. “I was very honest with them about my views and what drives my candidacy,” she says. Although the association has yet to endorse any candidates and didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment, Lester says her meeting with the police went better than she expected.

“After the meeting, several officers came up and told me they are residents of the city, and when I get my campaign up and running and get my signs, they would be proud to put one on their lawn. It was a huge compliment to me,” she says. “I’ve never had a problem with the police. They’re just answering to people who want things done their way. It’s all good. I’m not going to be intimidated by them. I’m not backing down.”

Image by John Gilhooley; photo illustration by Laila Derakhshanian
A potted plant in the Herban Elements lobby
John Gilhooley
A potted plant in the Herban Elements lobby

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