Commercial cannabis referendum deemed sufficient

The effort to overturn the Susanville City Council’s Ordinance No. 22-1033 which would have permitted commercial cannabis activities and dispensaries within the city limits has succeeded. The council may either entirely repeal the ordinance or submit it to the voters.

According to the agenda for the July 6 Susanville City Council meeting, Item 9A includes the issuance of a Certificate of Sufficiency.

According to the certificate, the proponents turned in petitions containing 1,077 signatures — of which 528 needed to be valid (10 percent of 5,277 registered voters). The city clerk reported the referendum was deemed sufficient once 539 valid signatures have been recorded. According to the certificate 400 signatures were not counted and 138 signatures (including 10 duplicates) were found insufficient.

How does this process work?
According to the state election code, “If a petition protesting the adoption of an ordinance … is submitted to the elections official of the legislative body of the city … within 30 days of the date the adopted ordinance is attested by the city clerk or secretary to the legislative body, and is signed by not less than 10 percent of the voters of the city according to the county elections official’s last official report of registration to the Secretary of State … the effective date of the ordinance shall be suspended and the legislative body shall reconsider the ordinance.

“If the legislative body does not entirely repeal the ordinance against which the petition is filed, the legislative body shall submit the ordinance to the voters, either at the next regular municipal election occurring not less than 88 days after the order of the legislative body, or at a special election called for the purpose, not less than 88 days after the order of the legislative body. The ordinance shall not become effective until a majority of the voters voting on the ordinance vote in favor of it. If the legislative body repeals the ordinance or submits the ordinance to the voters, and a majority of the voters voting on the ordinance do not vote in favor of it, the ordinance shall not again be enacted by the legislative body for a period of one year after the date of its repeal by the legislative body or disapproval by the voters.”

What’s in City Ordinance 22-0133?
According to the proposed ordinance, “The city wishes to establish a uniform regulatory structure for all cannabis uses in the city in accordance with state law,” and, “The proposed zoning amendments contained herein are consistent with the goals and policies of all elements of the General Plan, and any applicable specific plan in that the ordinance will direct commercial cannabis businesses to appropriate commercial and industrial districts designed to support such uses,” and, “The proposed zoning changes will result in land uses that are compatible with existing and future uses and will not be detrimental to the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or welfare of the city.”

According to a staff report, “Distribution, manufacturing and testing would be allowed in Industrial and Commercial Zoning Districts … Staff is exploring fee assessment options until such time as the city can place a cannabis tax measure on a future ballot.”

According to the staff report, “There is no fiscal impact identified that is associated with approving the ordinance. If approved, commercial cannabis businesses will be allowed to establish themselves within the city of Susanville, which would increase economic activity resulting in increased revenues for the city. The overall increase is difficult to quantify because it is dependent upon the types and sizes of activities established, which is a market driven variable one that is not fully within the control of the city.”