Pubdate: Fri, 10 Apr 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Opponents to Yuba County's new medical marijuana ordinance tried 
Thursday to file referendum petitions with county election officials, 
but were turned away.

County Clerk-Recorder Terry Hansen said she had no choice but to not 
accept the petitions that would force the new ordinance to a public 
vote. Ordinance opponents also made an unsuccessful attempt to file 
them with the clerk to the Board of Supervisors.

"They were polite," Hansen said. "I told them we are not trying to be 
obstructive and that when we have some direction from the court we 
will help them through the process."

The attempt came after the 3rd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday 
denied an emergency writ filed by attorney Joe Elford, representing 
growers. That writ sought to overturn a Yuba County court ruling on 
Tuesday that left an "urgency" designation with the ordinance intact, 
effectively blocking the referendum.

Elford said Thursday he intends to seek relief from the state Supreme 
Court. The attempt to file the referendum petitions would have 
preserved the integrity of the signatures if opponents get a 
favorable Supreme Court ruling, he said.

Instead, Elford said, the petitions will be placed in a safety 
deposit box, with the date recorded, to ensure no signatures were 
collected after Thursday.

Six growers and Yuba Patients Coalition, Inc., sued Yuba County over 
the new, stricter marijuana cultivation ordinance approved March 10 
by county supervisors. The new ordinance bans outdoor plants and 
limits plants to a dozen inside a qualified accessory building.

At issue in recent hearings was the board's decision to designate the 
new law an urgency ordinance. That meant it took effect immediately 
and eliminated a 30-day waiting period for gathering referendum signatures.

Opponents still have the option of collecting signatures for a voter 

Since there is no procedure for filing emergency writs with the 
Supreme Court, Elford said there wasn't time to file before the end 
of what would have been today's referendum deadline. He said the

Supreme Court appeal, which would presumably have to include a motion 
to reinstate the referendum process, will likely be made next week.

Yuba County Superior Court Judge Benjamin Wirtschafter must also 
still formally rule on the growers' motion for a preliminary 
injunction that would halt enforcement of the ordinance until the 
initial lawsuit is resolved.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom