Butte County Medical Marijuana Ordinance 4075 Referendum, Measure A (November 2014)

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See also: Butte County Medical Marijuana Initiative, Measure B (November 2014)
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A Butte County Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance Referendum, Measure A ballot question was on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in Butte County, California. It was approved.

Activists turned in 12,262 signatures on March 12, 2014--two hours before the deadline--to qualify their veto referendum for the ballot, seeking to overturn a county ordinance--Ordinance 4075--that was approved on February 11, 2014. The county clerk found the required 7,605 of the submitted signatures to be valid, which meant county supervisors needed to either rescind their cultivation ordinance or submit it to a vote of the people. The supervisors voted to take the latter option.[1][2][3]

The ordinance that referendum petitioners were seeking to overturn set limits on the size of medical marijuana growing areas and established minimum distances from property lines for marijuana plants. The ordinance was put on hold because referendum supporters submitted a petition within the 30-day window allowed from the approval of the ordinance. Petition supporters paid a petition drive management company about $65,000 to gather the required signatures.[1]

A competing measure--Measure B--that would have enacted a more lenient, citizen-initiated ordinance was also on the ballot. It was defeated.

A "yes" vote adopted the council-approved marijuana ordinance. A "no" vote would have rejected the ordinance.[4]

Election results

Butte County, Measure A
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 36,634 60.23%
No24,18739.77%

Election results via: Butte County Clerk and Recorder

Competing measures

See also: Butte County Medical Marijuana Initiative, Measure B (November 2014)

Measure A was a referendum question that reaffirmed the county-approved ordinance governing medical marijuana cultivation and retail. Measure B, a competing measure on the same ballot, was an initiative measure that qualified for the ballot through a successful signature petition drive. Measure B was less restrictive than Measure A and would have allowed more plants per acre. Below is an image showing some key differences between Measure A and Measure B:[5]

MeasureA&Bcomparison.JPG

Text of measure

Butte County Seal.jpg

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[4]

Shall Ordinance 4075, an ordinance amending Sections 34A-4, 34A-5, and 34A-8 to Article I, Chapter 34A entitled "Restrictions on Cultivation of Medical marijuana" of the Butte County Code, be adopted?[6]

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis was prepared for Measure A:[4]

Measure A is a referendum on Ordinance 4075 adopted by the Butte County Board of Supervisors. A referendum submits a board-adopted ordinance to a vote of the County's registered voters. On February 11, 2014, the Board of Supervisors adopted Ordinance 4075, amending Chapter 34A of the Butte County Code. A referendum petition to either repeal Ordinance 4075 or submit it to the voters received the required number of signatures. On June 10, 2014, the Board of Supervisors chose to submit the Ordinance to the voters. If approved by the voters, Ordinance 4075 would:

1. Set cultivation limits based on cultivation area, by lot size:

_________________ ____________________________________________

Lot size (acres) --- Cultivation area

0-0.5 --- Indoor only (detached structure 120 square feet maximum;
0.5 -- less than 5.0 --- 50 square feet;
5.0 -- less than 10.0 --- 100 square feet; and
10.0 plus --- 150 square feet.

2. Permit cultivation indoors or outdoors on lots greater than 0.5 acre;

3. Require minimum recommendations:

  • lots 0.5 -- 5.0 acres in size must have one or more recommendations associated with the plants;
  • lots 5.0 -- 10.0 acres in size must have two or more recommendations associated with the plants; and
  • lots 10.0 or more acres in size must have three or more recommendations associated with the plants.

4. Require a single cultivation area, length and width of the cultivation area shall not exceed a ratio of 2:1;

5. Require cultivation and harvesting setbacks from property lines (with exceptions for unusual hardships):

_________________ ____________________

Lot size (acres) --- Setback (feet)

0 - 0.5 --- 15;
0.5 - less than 5.0 --- 50;
5.0 - less than 10.0 --- 75; and
0.0 plus --- 150.


6. Provide that any person may make a complaint relating to violations;

7. Require that growers reside in Butte County for one year prior to cultivating;

8. Require growers have a permitted permanent water well or connection to municipal water, not engage in unpermitted drawing of water and not permit illegal discharges of water;

9. Prohibit cultivation:

  • within 1,000 feet of a school, park or similar facility;
  • within 600 feet of a school bus stop;
  • within 100 feet of an occupied residential structure on an adjacent parcel, with exceptions;
  • in any location where plants are visible from a public right of way; and
  • in certain designated zones.

10. Require growers to obtain landlord's written consent to cultivate;

11. Require fencing unless grown on 5 acres or more and not in public view;

12. Impose civil penalties of $500 per day for the first violation and $1,000 per day for each subsequent violation.

A "yes" vote means you support implementing these provisions.

A "no" vote means you do not support implementing these provisions.

If a majority of the votes cast on the measure are "yes", then the measure will be approved and Ordinance 4075 will become effective. If a majority of the votes cast on the measure are "no", then the measure will not be approved and Ordinance 4075 will not become effective.[6]

—Bruce S. Alpert, Butte County Counsel[4]

Full text

The full text of resolution calling for the Measure A election is available here.

Support

Note: Supporters of Measure A were opposed to the competing Measure B

Supporters

Citizens for a Safer Butte Bounty was the name of the PAC that supported Measure A.

BCFACT logo

An official YES on A - NO on B campaign was started by Measure A supporters.[5]

An organization called Butte County Families Against Cannabis Trafficking (BCFACT) also endorsed Measure A and opposed Measure B.[7]

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure A:[4]

  • Michael L. Ramsey, Butte County District Attorney
  • Maureen A. Kirk, Butte County Supervisor
  • Jerry W. Smith, Retired Butte County Sheriff
  • Sean Early, President, Butte County Cattlemen
  • Irv Leen, President, Butte County Farm Bureau

Arguments in favor

Yes on A - No on B campaign logo

Supporters argued that the council-approved Measure A both had reasonable restrictions on the marijuana industry to guarantee community harmony and safety and allowed reasonable access to the drug for patients. They alleged that proponents of the competing initiative, Measure B, were more concerned with allowing large-scale growers and large-scale profits than about the safety of the community and the well being of the sick.[5]

Official arguments

The following was submitted as the official argument in favor of Measure A:[4]

Measure A will preserve Butte County's rural quality of life by preventing large-scale commercial marijuana cultivation. It does NOT affect patient access to medical marijuana.

Measure A establishes reasonable regulations to limit marijuana grows and combat the abusive practices being perpetrated by commercial marijuana growers--many of whom don't live here.

QUALITY OF LIFE: The Butte County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the Comprehensive Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance--Measure A--in February to protect Butte County residents and communities from the intimidation and violence associated with large commercial marijuana grows.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Measure A prohibits outdoor marijuana grows in most residential neighborhoods to keep commercial drug activities away from our children and families. It improves law enforcement capabilities to safeguard our public lands and toughens security requirements at marijuana sites to better protect public safety.

PATIENT ACCESS: Measure A protects patients who need medical marijuana in compliance with the Compassionate Use Act by permitting limited indoor grows.

ENVIRONMENT: Measure A strengthens environmental protections for our water and public lands. It will preserve local wildlife like the Fisher Martin which is being threatened by toxic chemicals from large marijuana grows.

Measure A stops out-of-town marijuana growers from profiteering at the expense of Butte County residents.

Measure A is a responsible solution to preserve Butte County's quality of life and ensure patient access to medical marijuana.

Vote YES on Measure A to take back our neighborhoods. Vote YES on Measure A to stop marijuana grower abuses. Vote YES on Measure A to preserve our quality of life.

YES on Measure A[6]

—Michael L. Ramsey, Maureen A. Kirk, Jerry W. Smith, Sean Early and Irv Leen[4]

Opposition

Note: Supporters of the competing initiative - Measure B - oppose Measure A.

Opponents

BCAIG campaign image

A campaign called Butte County Citizens Against Irresponsible Government (BCAIG) was started to support Measure B and oppose Measure A.[8]

The following individuals signed the official arguments in opposition to Measure A:[4]

  • Andrew T. Holcombe, attorney, former Chico Mayor
  • Denice Lessard, patient
  • Anne Murphy, patient
  • Philip G. Seuls, patient

Other opponents of Measure A included:[1]

  • Andrew Merkel, a medical marijuana advocate
  • Denice Lessard
  • Ron Halvorson, a former Assembly of God pastor

The California branch of NORML and the Butte County Democratic Party also opposed Measure A and supported Measure B.[9]

Arguments against

Denice Lessard, who helped with the petition drive, said that she was "afraid of people taking away my ability to get my medicine."[1]

Ron Halvorson said that, even though the ordinance did not prohibit marijuana growth, it restricted it to the point of people not being able to provide for their medical marijuana needs.[1]

A BCAIG pamphlet about Measure A and Measure B, directed at marijuana growers, said the approval of Measure A would create the following problems:[9]

  1. You will be unable to help disabled patients that you cultivate for - there are no dispensaries in Butte County.
  2. Growing space will be limited to maximum 150 square feet.
  3. Increased grows & cartels on public lands increase environmental degradation.
  4. Increases environmental damage. (Indoor grows increase CO2)
  5. Businesses will see decreased sales.
  6. Increases the potential water theft.
  7. The policy will diminish public safety and has the potential to increase violence.
  8. Moves growers into city limits raising residential criminal activities.

Official arguments

The following was submitted as the official argument in opposition to Measure A:[4]

Reasonable restrictions on cultivation are fine, but Measure A goes way overboard. Measure A is an effort to make growing medical Cannabis in Butte County almost impossible. Measure A would be the first Butte County ordinance to limit your right to grow a crop on your land to a small square footage. Measure A would also be the first Butte County ordinance to authorize the Butte County Sheriff to conduct repeated warrantless trespasses to check for a medical Cannabis grow on your private property.

Measure A would limit your right to grow a crop on only 50 sq. ft. of parcels of less than 5 acres or smaller. Even if you own one of the largest parcels in the County, you could only grow a crop of medical Cannabis on 150 sq. ft of your land.

Butte County wants you to think that all Cannabis gardens are nuisances, in order to scare you. Butte County's existing nuisance ordinance is more than adequate to address any medical cannabis grow which becomes a nuisance. Under Butte County's existing Cannabis cultivation ordinance (which is identical to Measure B), only a 72-hour notice need be given before Butte County can take enforcement action.

Butte County also wants you to believe there are no environmental regulations in the existing Cannabis cultivation ordinance. However, under the existing Cannabis cultivation ordinance and other County ordinances, water use, garden runoff, pesticides and grading are all strictly regulated. The existing ordinance isn't broken and doesn't need fixing.

Don't buy Butte County's fear campaign. Measure A lives in the past, just like the policy behind the federal War Against Marijuana, which has been a failure for 40 years. Stand up for your rights. Vote No on Measure A.[6]

—Andrew T. Holcombe, Denice Lessard, Anne Murphy and Philip G. Seuls[4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

On February 11, 2014, the Butte County Board of Supervisors approved a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance strictly regulating how much land per acre can be dedicated to growing cannabis. Activists who opposed this ordinance paid a a petition drive management company about $65,000 to gather the requisite signatures to qualify a veto referendum, Measure A, and a competing initiative, Measure B, for the ballot. The paid circulators had a 30-day window, which ended on March 12, 2014, at five o'clock pm.[1]

Petitioners turned in 12,262 signatures on March 12, 2014--two hours before the deadline --to qualify their veto referendum for the ballot, seeking to overturn a county ordinance that was approved on February 11, 2014. The county clerk found the required 7,605 of the submitted signatures to be valid, which meant the county supervisors needed to either rescind their cultivation ordinance or submit it to a vote of the people. The supervisors voted during their meeting on April 24, 2014, to put the referendum before voters on November 4, 2014, rather than rescinding the targeted ordinance directly.[1][2][3]

BCAIG activists raised about $65,000 to put both Measure A and Measure B on the ballot.[9]

Similar measures

Recreational

Approveda Washington D.C. Marijuana Legalization, Initiative 71 (November 2014)

Colorado:

Maine:

Approveda City of Lewiston Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure (November 2014)
Approveda City of South Portland Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Town of York Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure (November 2014)

Massachusetts:

Michigan:

New Mexico:

Approveda Santa Fe County Marijuana Decriminalization Advisory Question (November 2014)
Approveda Bernalillo County Marijuana Decriminalization Advisory Question, Measure 1 (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Albuquerque Marijuana Decriminalization Measure (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Santa Fe Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative (November 2014)

Wisconsin:

Approveda Dane County State Legalization of Marijuana Referendum (April 2014)

Medical

California:

Approveda City of Santa Ana Council-Referred Medical Marijuana Regulation Ordinance, Measure BB (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of Santa Ana Medical Cannabis Restriction and Limitation Initiative, Measure CC (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of La Mesa Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposition J (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of Encinitas Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposition F (November 2014)
Defeatedd Nevada County Medical Marijuana Cultivation, Measure S (November 2014)
Approveda Butte County Medical Marijuana Ordinance 4075 Referendum, Measure A (November 2014)
Defeatedd Butte County Medical Marijuana Initiative, Measure B (November 2014)
Approveda Shasta County Outdoor Medical Marijuana Ordinance Referendum, Measure A (November 2014)
Defeatedd Lake County "Medical Marijuana Control Act" Initiative, Measure O (November 2014)
Defeatedd Lake County "Freedom to Garden Human Rights Restoration Act" Initiative, Measure P (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of Weed Permitting Licensing of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Advisory Question, Measure L (November 2014)
Approveda City of Weed Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation Ban Advisory Question, Measure K (November 2014)
Approveda Lake County Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance 2997 Referendum, Measure N (June 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Imperial Beach "Compassionate Access Ordinance" Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Act (June 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Napa Medical Marijuana Dispensary Referendum (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Costa Mesa "Initiative to Provide Revenue to the City of Costa Mesa Citizens" Medical Marijuana Initiative (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Costa Mesa "Act to Restrict and Regulate the Operation of Medical Marijuana Businesses" Initiative (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of San Jose Medical Marijuana Regulation Act of 2014 (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of San Jose Pension Measure to Alter Measure B Reform Charter Amendment (November 2014)

See also

External links

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Support

Opposition

References