Councilman Victor Gordo on Monday pleaded with Mayor Terry Tornek to place on the council’s agenda a discussion on a possible ballot initiative that, if approved, could flood the city with marijuana dispensaries.
“The city is in danger of having a thoughtful initiative that was voted into law by the people completely reversed,” Gordo said during the council’s Monday meeting.
“The biggest danger is we will have these shops open anywhere and everywhere in the city with harm to our neighborhoods and to our business districts,” Gordo said.
The People’s Initiative to Preserve the Existing Operation of Non-Offending Commercial Cannabis Businesses would allow marijuana dispensaries previously deemed illegal to operate with impunity in Pasadena.
Proponents of the measure, one of them Bradley Hertz, a lawyer who initiated a failed recall effort against Gordo earlier this year, submitted 12,900 signatures to City Clerk Mark Jomsky’s office on July 31. The signatures have been turned over to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office for verification. The county has until Sept. 12 to verify the signatures.
“It’s definitely going to be agendized,” Mayor Terry Tornek told Gordo.
To qualify for the March election, backers of the ballot measure need 8,542 valid signatures from Pasadena voters.
If the signatures are certified, the City Council can adopt the measure as an ordinance, which seems highly unlikely, submit the ordinance without alteration to the voters, or order a report on the impacts of the initiative for the council within 30 days of the date of certification of the signatures. Following the report, the council can then submit the initiative for a vote, or come up with its own initiative to nullify the other measure.
Last year, the City Council banned so-called nuisance dispensaries from applying for business licenses under the city’s cannabis law, which allows up to six dispensaries to operate in Pasadena.
According to the city’s highly regulated process, only one dispensary is allowed to operate in each council district, and dispensaries must adhere to strict distance limits from schools, libraries and churches. But all of that would be out the window if voters pass the initiative.
Published: August 28, 2019