Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 • City explains referendum process to pro medical marijuana advocates

Responding to a question from the newspaper, Jared Hancock, city administrator, explained the referendum process currently under way.

A group of residents want to overturn the Susanville City Council’s recent decision to amend the city’s zoning laws to ban medical marijuana gardens within the city limits. They are currently collecting signatures from registered voters who live in the city to qualify the referendum for the ballot.

Residents seeking to repeal the ordinance through the referendum process would do it through a petition which must be submitted within 30 days of the adoption of the ordinance.

The proponents must submit the petition to the city no later than Jan. 4, 2016. If a petition is filed, it is anticipated the results will be certified and reported to the city council in February 2016. The last day to submit the matter to the voters for the June 7, 2016 election would be March 11, 2016.

According to Hancock, the city council voted to adopt Ordinance No. 15-1002 on Dec. 2 at a regular meeting of the Susanville City Council.

Adoption of this ordinance prohibits the cultivation of marijuana within the city limits, and on Jan. 2, 2016, after the 30-day waiting period, the ordinance becomes effective and will then be added to the Susanville Municipal Code.

The city reviewed paperwork from proponents who have indicated they wish to repeal the passage of Ordinance No. 15-1002. While it is not necessary or required to have the petition reviewed prior to circulating for signatures, the city provided a review and advised the proponents of the process as outlined in the California Government and Elections Code.

These steps include the following:

  • A petition protesting against the adoption of an ordinance must be circulated by any person who is 18 years of age or older and must be submitted to the elections official within 30 days of the date the adopted ordinance is attested by the city clerk to the legislative body during regular office hours as posted. Petitions not filed within that time shall be void for all purposes.
  • The Elections Code specifies the information that must be included on each section of the referendum petition.
  • The petition must be filed with the elections official during normal business hours, and a copy of Government Code Section 84305 must be provided to the proponents at the time of filing the petition.
  • Once filed, the city clerk has 30 days, excepting Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, to verify signatures on the petition.
  • The election official must notify the proponents as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petitions and must certify the results of the examination to the city council if the petition is sufficient at the next regular city council meeting.
  • If the petition contains signatures representing 10 percent or more of the registered voters of the city, the council may vote to repeal the ordinance or submit it to the voters at the next regular municipal election — not fewer than 88 days after the order of the city council.
  • If the city council repeals the ordinance, or the voters vote against it, the ordinance may not be reenacted by the city council for one year from its repeal or from the declaration of result of the election.

On Tuesday, Dec. 22, protestors of the city’s ban of medical marijuana gardens lined Main Street in front of Susanville Mayor Brian Wilson’s State Farm Insurance office in an effort to get more Susanville city residents to sign their petition.