Medical marijuana advocates today plan to petition Sacramento County supervisors to allow one marijuana dispensary for every 25,000 residents in the incorporated region.
But despite advocates' promise to hand over more than 30,000 signatures today, there will be no upcoming ballot measure challenging the county's current ban on medical marijuana outlets.
County election officials say a group called the Committee for Safe Patient Access to Regulated Cannabis failed to meet a July 23 deadline to hand in 42,231 signatures of registered voters to qualify a ballot measure.
The group took out petitions January 23 to challenge the county's dispensary ban and had six months to collect the required signatures. They would have to start signature gathering - and the clock - all over to bring it before voters.
Nonetheless, advocates are holding a series of events today promoting an ordinance to force the county to accept at least 22 medical marijuana stores - based on a population of 560,000 residents in the incorporated region.
In 2011, Sacramento County brimmed with nearly 100 dispensaries despite the Board of Supervisors' contention they were not permitted under any local ordinance. All ending up closing in the face of county enforcement actions and a crackdown by federal prosecutors threatening dispensary landlords with property seizures.
County supervisors last December voted 4-1 to pass a zoning ordinance banning business licenses to any establishments that conflict with "either state or federal law, or both." While supervisors said they wanted to make their opposition to medical marijuana dispensaries unambiguous, the zoning amendment they passed failed to include the words "medical" or "marijuana" or "dispensaries."
In a press release, the Committee for Safe Patient Access said it is asking supervisors to "reconsider their ban" and "find a better method of dealing with medical cannabis that than simply working to make qualified patients, and their providers, outlaws."