In Costa Mesa, California, supporters of medical marijuana are working to get an initiative on the November ballot that would legalize collectives throughout the city.
The Orange County Cannabis Alliance worked with medical marijuana advocates to collect almost 6,800 signatures in support of putting the initiative to a vote of the people. They needed only 5,812 signatures to secure a place on the ballot, but gathered an additional 1,000 to be safe. To get an initiative on the ballot in Costa Mesa, you must show that you have the support of 10% of registered voters in the city.
On Wednesday, supporters turned those signatures in to the city clerk. During a news conference outside of city hall, former dispensary owner Robert Martinez said, “I’m super stoked to bring these signatures. It’s imperative to provide safe access for veterans and cancer patients.”
Should the initiative be approved by voters, it would lift Costa Mesa’s ban on marijuana collectives and allow non-profit dispensaries to set up brick and mortar shops throughout the city.
Collectives would be prohibited from being located within 1,000 feet of schools. Aside from this, there would be few limitations on collectives. Dispensary owners would not have to obtain a business license, special site plan, or a variance. Additionally, they could only be inspected by city officials once per year.
The deadline for submitting signatures to have an initiative put onto the November ballot is August 10th. Supporters are confident that they will meet the minimum valid signature requirement.
Before medical marijuana storefronts were banned in Costa Mesa there were almost 40 collectives. Earlier this year, Costa Mesa was targeted in a series of crackdowns. Costa Mesa police have said that they target dispensaries who are violating the state’s Compassionate Use Act. Feeling overwhelmed by the number of collectives in the city, City Attorney Tom Duarte reached out to federal officials asking for assistance with the closures.
Medical marijuana supporters hope that their signature gathering efforts will be enough and that they will have the support of fellow voters come November.