Pro-pot measure returns to ballot

January 07, 2008

, Press-Democrat (CA)

A landmark 2000 Mendocino County marijuana measure will be back before voters in the June primary, a move taken Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors after a contentious three-hour public hearing.

“It’s a big step toward regaining control of our county,” said Ross Liberty of Ukiah, one of the organizers of a drive to repeal Measure G.

County supervisors decided 4-1 to put the fate of Measure G up for voter review over the objections of longtime local advocates of decriminalization of pot for personal and medical uses.

Measure G garnered national attention seven years ago by becoming the first measure in the United States to allow an individual to grow up to 25 plants for personal use without fear of prosecution. It paved the way for locally liberal law enforcement policies surrounding medical marijuana use.

But the measure since has been blamed for a surge in local pot production under the guise of medical marijuana use and a host of crime-related problems that have taxed law enforcement agencies.

The board’s vote Tuesday allowed proponents of Measure G’s repeal to avoid a lengthy and potentially costly signature-gathering process to qualify the measure for the ballot. Supporters presented the board with petitions bearing the names of 942 registered voters in support of a second look at Measure G.

Besides deciding to put Measure G on the ballot, the board in a separate action also imposed a 25-plant limit per parcel of property on licensed medical marijuana providers. The parcel limit is seen as a way to clamp down on a proliferation of large marijuana plantations, some totaling 10,000 plants or more.

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