Marijuana Petitions Submitted To City
PROPOSED ORDINANCE SUBMITTED TO CITY
Today, shortly before noon, proponents of the movement to place an initiative on the November ballot which, if approved by the voters, will permit "certain Medical Marijuana activities in the City of Costa Mesa". You can read the text of the message that appeared on the petitions as well as the entire proposed ordinance HERE.
MORE THAN THE MINIMUM
Several proponents stood before the main entrance at City Hall and presented their pile of petitions. It was required for them to gather roughly 5,800 signature of registered Costa Mesa voters - 10% of the number of the total registered voters. According to the proponents, they gathered 6,780 valid signatures. Shown here with Acting Deputy City Clerk Christine Cordon in the background.
DELIVERING THE MESSAGE
Robert Martinez - a name with whom some of you may be familiar as the fellow who broadcast his weekly marijuana radio program from then-mayor Gary Monahan's pub several months ago, then had the program removed from the airwaves - was the primary spokesman for the group. He's shown here reading the text of the item on the petitions.
DELIVERING TO CITY CLERK
The pile of papers were turned in to Interim City Clerk Brenda Green for processing. She's shown here exchanging details of the process with Martinez and others.
TIMESTAMPED AND COUNTED
Once Green and her staff timestamped in each petition page those documents were taken to a private room where Green counted each signature in front of a representative of the proponents. Once that was completed the documents will be delivered to Neal Kelley, Orange County Registrar of Voters, where his staff will certify each and every signature as valid. If sufficient numbers of signatures are found to be valid this item will appear on the November 6th ballot.
6777 IS THE NUMBER
According to Green, the counting is complete and she is leaving to deliver the 6777 signatures to the Registrar as I type this. His staff will certify each signature to the point where they reach the minimum for placement on the ballot - 5811.
CITY MUST PAY IF IT QUALIFIES
Green also tells me that the city will pay for this item to be on the ballot if it qualifies, but the numbers are unknown at this time. The Registrar's office determines the cost based on several variables that cannot be quantified at this time.
VERY "INTERESTING" DOCUMENT
I think you'll find this initiative to be an interesting document. Here are some of the highlights as presented in the petition language: (the emphasis below is mine)
- It authorizes the establishment of storefront, mobile and agricultural medical marijuana operations, not operated primarily for profit, in the City.
- No approval is given or required by or from the City to establish such operations.
- The City cannot ban such operations.
- The City cannot punish property owners for such operations.
- It specifically exempts such medical marijuana operations from being required by the City to obtain a business license, special site plan or variance.
- It prohibits the City from cooperating with county, state or federal law enforcement agencies in enforcing laws contrary to the Initiative.
- It basically "grandfathers-in" ten (10) medical marijuana establishments deemed to be in good standing and free to begin operating. Go to the link above for the identities of these establishments
- Inspections of these establishments for normal fire and other safety inspections, appropriate parking per square footage and similar requirements for a private club may be performed so long as these are not different for any other business or private club in the City.
- Storefront locations are prohibited within 1,000 feet of a public or private school where K-12 grade classes are held.
- It requires medical marijuana establishments to have a closed circuit video camera system for security purposes; an active centrally-monitored burglary alarm system and proper lighting.
- If found in violation of any of those regulations the City may fine the establishment a maximum of $1,000 per week per infraction but may not order the closure of the establishment.
- The City would be limited to one inspection a year to insure compliance with these regulations.
- The City may not impose any further regulations or regulatory procedures on medical marijuana activities, unless they are approved by a majority of the City of Costa Mesa voters in a regularly scheduled or special election.
I WILL VOTE NO...
Each of those items I highlighted are very problematic for me. It looks to me as though any of these kind of facilities will operate beyond any reasonable application of the law. If this item is certified and placed on the ballot I will vote NO.