Pathways to a New Local Ordinance How can you adopt a new ordinance in your city or county?

There are three primary pathways to adopting a new medical cannabis licensing ordinance in a city or county: 

  1. Lobby the City Council or County Board of Supervisors to adopt a new ordinance that licenses commercial medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing. If your jurisdiction already bans some or all medical cannabis activity, you will also need to lobby them to repeal the ordinance that bans this activity. They can do both things in a single new ordinance. You can follow the steps and strategies in your campaign plan, and use the skills you learn in the Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center to encourage elected officials to adopt a new licensing and/or zoning ordinance.
  2. Pass a voter initiative to license or permit commercial medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing in your city or county. Every city and county in California allows a registered voter in the district to circulate a petition to place an ordinance on the local ballot for approval by the voters. If more than 50% of voters approve the imitative, it becomes law without the need for Council or Board approval. There are very specific rules and timelines for voter initiatives. You can follow the steps and strategies in your campaign plan, and use the skills you learn in the Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center to launch a voter initiative campaign.
  3. Launch a voter referendum to repeal an ordinance banning medial cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, sales, and testing in your city or county. Registered voters in a city or county can circulate a petition calling for a vote of the people to repeal a law they don not like. If they gather enough signatures, the Council or Board must repeal the law or let voters decide. However, voters must file a referendum petition within a certain amount of time after the law they want to repeal becomes effective. As with voter initiatives, there are very specific rules and timelines for referenda. You can follow the steps and strategies in your campaign plan, and use the skills you learn in the Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center to launch a voter referendum.

 

 

Pro

Con

Best When

New Ordinance

  • Usually the least expensive and fastest path to a new law
  • Elected officials may not be willing to adopt a new law or repeal a ban;
  • You may have to make compromises to get the ordinance passed
  • Elected officials are motivated of willing to adopt a new law or repeal a ban

Voter Initiative

  • You can bypass unwilling elected officials and go directly to voters;
  • You control the content of the ordinance
  • This can be a lengthy and expensive process; You will probably have opposition at the polls
  • Elected officials are unwilling to pass a new ordinance or repeal a ban, but voters are likely to support you

Voter Referendum

  • You can stop a recently adopted ban and force the elected officials back to negotiations
  • This tactic can only be used within specified time frames;
  • You might fail
  • A new ban has just been adopted, and voters are likely to oppose it.