Topic: Butte County supes to face referendum
Now we need to make the same thing happen in Shasta County!
OROVILLE — Almost two years to the day after they first voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Butte County, county supervisors will find the topic back on the agenda for their Jan. 10, 2012, meeting.
On Jan. 12, 2010, the supervisors voted in favor of a temporary ban on dispensaries, that was later extended. This Oct. 25 the board voted to make the ban permanent.
Almost immediately afterward, opponents began a petition drive seeking to have it removed from the county code.
Wednesday, Butte County Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs announced the petitioners had collected enough signatures to certify their petition.
On Nov. 22, petitions containing 12,039 signatures were turned into the county. Grubbs said after her staff examined 500 signatures as a test, the petitioners had collected a projected 9,703 valid signatures, easily qualifying the referendum.
The petitions needed a minimum 7,605 valid signatures.
Thursday, Kathleen Moghannam, assistant clerk of the Board of Supervisors, said the referendum will be put on the agenda for the board's first meeting of the new year.
A certified referendum gives the supervisors two choices: put the matter before the public for a vote, or rescind the ordinance.
Butte County Attorney Bruce Alpert has stated repeatedly that dispensaries have never been legal in Butte County, with or without the ordinance.
Under the zoning code any land use that is not specifically allowed is prohibited, he has said
Andrew Merkel, formerly a dispensary operator, and one of the leaders in the fight against the dispensary ordinance, was not immediately available for comment Thursday, but in the past he has said the public deserves the right to vote on the ordinance.
In early September, supervisors voted to send an earlier referendum against the county's stringent ordinance restricting where medical marijuana could be cultivated in the county to the voters.
That will be on the June 2012 primary election ballot.