VOTERS SAY YES’ ON B

June 5, 2008

Marijuana Reform Measure Approved

After six months of forums, discussions, political mailers and vigorous, and sometimes vociferous, debate, Mendocino County voters finally had the opportunity to say their piece on the future of the county’s marijuana policy.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting at 12:35 a.m. Wednesday, Measure B was winning 52.15 percent to 47.85 percent. The Elections Office recorded a 34.94 percent turnout for the election and counted 16,436 ballots.

Provisional ballots remain to be counted.

“We’re very confident that we’re going to win,” Ross Liberty, spokesman for the Yes on B Coalition, said earlier in the evening.

Measure B repeals Measure G, the county’s personal use marijuana law, and sets medical marijuana possession limits in Mendocino County at the state limits of six mature or 12 immature plants and eight ounces of dried marijuana.

Measure G was passed by county voters in 2000 and instructed law enforcement to make the prosecution of possession of 25 marijuana plants or fewer the lowest possible priority.

No on B campaign spokeswoman Laura Hamburg said early in the evening that she was optimistic and excited about the results despite the fact that initial reports showed Measure B passing by a margin of more than 10 percent of the vote.

“The early results are always brutal,” she said. “It’s the most conservative group.”

While the measure appeared to be passing from the earliest returns, Liberty said he was disappointed with the margin. Liberty said a poll conducted before Measure B was put on the ballot showed it passing with 65 percent of the vote.

“That’s my personal belief of where we were before we started,” he said.

Liberty said even if Measure B ended up passing by a narrow margin, he would still be happy with the victory.

“It’s important to win,” he said.

“We will all have done a great disservice to this county if we lose,” Liberty said.

As the evening wore on, Yes on B maintained its almost 11 percent lead, though it eventually narrowed to around 5 percent.

Hamburg said no matter what the results of the election were, it would be counted as a victory by No on B because the campaign had created a dialogue about marijuana in Mendocino County.

“What happens tonight is just one slice of it,” she said.

Liberty acknowledged that the fight over Measure B had been a divisive campaign and that a dialogue between the groups would be good.

“We have more common ground than we tended to acknowledge during the campaign,” he said.

Hamburg said representatives of both campaigns as well as public health and other county entities would be meeting soon to discuss what can be done to deal with the crime and environmental degradation that often surrounds illegal marijuana grows.

“The whole county says no to that,” she said.

All results from election night are unofficial. The definitive results will not be released until a canvas of the votes is completed, which could take up to 28 days.

[sidebar]

MARIJUANA MILESTONES IN COUNTY SINCE PROP. 215

1996 – California voters passed Proposition 215, the compassionate use act, which legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The law allowed medical marijuana patients to have as much marijuana as their doctors recommended.

2000 – Mendocino County voters passed Measure G with 58 percent of the vote. The resolution ordered Mendocino County law enforcement agencies to make prosecution of the possession of 25 or fewer marijuana plants the lowest possible priority. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors was instructed to use its budgetary authority to enforce the voters’ will.

2003 – The California Legislature passed Senate Bill 420, which set legal limits on the amount of medical marijuana a patient with a doctor’s recommendation could possess.

SB 420 set statewide possession limits at either six mature or 12 immature plants and eight ounces of dried marijuana. The bill also provided an exception to the rule, allowing medical marijuana patients to have more than the state mandated amount of marijuana if a doctor signed a letter indicating that they needed more.

Patients were also allowed to designate care givers who could grow marijuana for them if they were not able, establishing the practice of care givers and patients growing collectively. The sale of marijuana for profit remained illegal under SB 420 but care givers were allowed to take reasonable compensation for their work.

SB 420 also gave individual counties Advertisement the right to set higher limits for medical marijuana but not lower ones. It also required every county to establish a voluntary medical marijuana identification card program.

August, 2007 – The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to set medical marijuana limits in Mendocino County at 25 plants and two pounds of marijuana. Before the vote, members of the board said they were acting in accordance with the will of the voters as specified in Measure G.

December, 2007 – The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors set medical marijuana plant limits at 25 plants per parcel of land, regardless of the number of qualified patients living there.

Jan. 9, 2008 – The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors puts Measure B on the June 3 ballot. The measure proposes to repeal Measure G and set medical marijuana plant limits at the state level of six mature plants or 12 immature plants and eight ounces of marijuana. Under the measure, medical marijuana patients would still be allowed to have more if they have a signed letter from their doctor saying they need more.

April 16, 2008 – The Ukiah City Council votes to endorse Measure B, joining endorsements from the city councils of Willits and Fort Bragg.

April 24, 2008 – Two lawsuits against Measure B, one filed by Green Party member Richard Johnson and the other filed by county residents Paula Laguna and George Hanamoto, were dismissed by Mendocino Superior Court Judge John Behnke. Both suits aimed to get Measure B off the ballot, arguing that it violated the California constitution as well as previous medical marijuana laws.

May 1, 2008 — Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott endorsed Measure B, saying it will make her job easier by clarifying Mendocino county’s medical marijuana laws.

May 13, 2008 — Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman endorsed Measure B after previously declining to take a stand on the measure.

May 22, 2008 — The California Appellate Court rules in people v. Kelly that the medical marijuana limits set forth in SB 420 are unconstitutional and that the state does not have the right to set medical marijuana limits under Proposition 215.

Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)

Website: http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/

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One Response to “VOTERS SAY YES’ ON B”

  1. Emerald Triangle News Says:

    ISN’T IT SO GREAT TO KNOW MEASURE B WON’T BE ENFORCED DUR TO THE KELLY RULING!


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