Robin Abcarian is a columnist at the Los Angeles Times. Focusing mostly on California culture, news and politics, she roams the Golden State each week, reporting stories that help readers understand what makes this state unique.
Over the past year, Robin has devoted many columns to helping readers understand the complex issues they would have to consider as they made up their minds about whether to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use. She has visited farmers in Mendocino, edible cannabis confectioners in Oakland and the Emerald Cup in Sonoma. She has written about the social justice aspects of legalization and how people of color, who have been most penalized by the War on Drugs, are fighting to get their share of the legal cannabis industry.
She has written about the state’s persistent drought and water wars, and about surf culture, the legacy of the Black Panthers, San Francisco’s homeless crisis and how to take an Uber across the Mexican border.
Robin is a versatile journalist who has held many positions at the Times. She covered the 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns full-time and wrote occasionally about the 2016 campaign. She has also worked as a national reporter, covering mass shootings and devastating tornadoes. As a culture writer for the paper’s renowned Calendar section, she has covered the Oscars, the Emmys and the Sundance Film Festival. For most of the 1990s, she was a columnist for the Times’ feature section before becoming its editor in 2003.
In the late 1990s, Abcarian co-hosted a Los Angeles radio talk show. She and her radio partner were the only female co-hosts of a morning-drive show in a major U.S. market.
Robin has also worked at the Detroit Free Press, the Los Angeles Daily News, the now-defunct Santa Monica Outlook and the Ventura Star.
She is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she majored in French and English, and Boston University, where she received a master’s in journalism. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and lives in Venice, CA. She considers Berkeley her spiritual home.