Butte County Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance Referendum (November 2014)
|Voting on Marijuana|
|Not on ballot|
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 that was approved on February 11, 2014. The county clerk found the required 7,605 of the submitted signatures to be valid, which means county supervisors need to either rescind their cultivation ordinance or submit it to a vote of the people.
The ordinance that referendum petitioners are seeking to overturn would set limits on the size of medical marijuana growing areas and establish 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.
The ordinance that was passed by the county supervisors and potentially subject to the veto referendum measure allowed only 50 square-feet of marijuana growing space on any parcel larger than a half-acre and smaller than five acres. Additionally, it required marijuana plants to be a minimum of 50 feet from the nearest property line in a parcel of that size. For an area of 10 acres or more, cannabis plants could only cover 150 square-feet and could not be fewer than 150 feet from the nearest property line.
Note: Those who are opposed to the marijuana cultivation ordinance and in favor of the overturning of this ordinance, which is the intended outcome of referendum petitioners, are referred to as supporters in this article.
- Andrew Merkel, a medical marijuana advocate
- Denice Lessard
- Ron Halvorson, a former Assembly of God pastor
Arguments in favor
Denice Lessard, who helped with the petition drive, said that she was "afraid of people taking away my ability to get my medicine."
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 the medical marijuana need.
Path to the ballot
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 for the ballot. The paid circulators had a 30 day window, which ended on March 12, 2014, at five o'clock pm.
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 themselves.
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- Local marijuana on the ballot
- Notable local measures on the ballot
- Butte County, California ballot measures