Referendum planned to allow medical marijuana dispensary in Napa

2013-12-18T12:17:00Z 2014-02-17T15:46:45Z Referendum planned to allow medical marijuana dispensary in NapaCHANTAL M. LOVELL Napa Valley Register
December 18, 2013 12:17 pm  • 

The Napa City Council may have nixed its medical marijuana dispensary ordinance, but that does not mean it’s dead.

On Tuesday, a grassroots group calling itself Napa’s Compassion Referendum Committee announced it would seek to overturn the council’s early December decision to effectively ban dispensaries in city limits.

Were their proposed referendum to make it to the November 2014 ballot and win favor with voters, the city’s ordinance that would have allowed one heavily regulated dispensary to open in Napa would have new life.

“Napa’s Compassion Referendum Committee is composed of concerned citizens that believe patients in Napa should have access to their medicine,” said group spokesman Spencer Smith.

The group formed this month after the City Council voted 3-2 on Dec. 3 to repeal the ordinance to allow a dispensary inside the city limits. The ordinance had been unanimously adopted in 2010 by an earlier council, but never implemented because of legal concerns.

On Tuesday, the council finalized the decision, again voting 3-2, with Councilmembers Peter Mott and Scott Sedgley voting in dissent.

“We believe patients in pain should have safe access to their medicine,” Smith said in a news release. “We believe most Napa voters agree with us. This referendum will allow the voters to decide.”

The group said the city’s ordinance was “a very strong regulatory ordinance that would’ve kept the dispensary away from schools, neighborhoods and limited the outside advertising.”

Ultimately, the majority of the council balked at implementation over concerns it would be challenged in court, and make it easier for local teens to gain illegal access to the drug.

If the referendum is successful, the tabled ordinance would be revived, opening the door for a local dispensary.

While the group is confident it can gain favor with voters based on Napa’s support of the 1996 statewide proposition that legalized medicinal marijuana in California, the clock is ticking for volunteers to act.

Citizens have 30 days from the date of a council’s act to gather signatures from 10 percent of voters to place a referendum on a ballot, said City Clerk Dorothy Roberts.

Napa has just over 37,500 voters, according to the registrar of voters and the council’s decision was finalized this week, so, the group has until mid-January to collect roughly 3,750 signatures.

Smith said the group plans to immediately head out to shopping centers and other public areas and begin signature gathering. They are seeking volunteers to assist in the grassroots effort.

Anyone interested in assisting with signature gathering should call 707-418-8024.

Copyright 2016 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(22) Comments

  1. logicalnapkin
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    logicalnapkin - December 18, 2013 1:08 pm
    Why do the rights of the few trump the rights of the mega-majority who shouldn't be subjected to having to endure the highly offensive and nauseating stench that accompanies the drug? I can close every window and door in my house and the air in my neighborhood is so saturated with pot smoke at times that it seeps through the walls. If the people who "need" this expect us to be compassionate toward their "need" then they should be compassionate and considerate to their neighbors who are effected by their choice of drug.
  2. Atomicbugs
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    Atomicbugs - December 18, 2013 1:54 pm
    fantastic!! i'll be looking to sign the referendum at a local shopping center!
  3. Malibu1369
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    Malibu1369 - December 18, 2013 2:15 pm
    This isn't about what you don't want to smell @logiclnapkin, it is about compassionate use. Instead of exaggerating your offense to the smell of pot you should weigh in with ideas to mitigate the smell. Some people don't like the smell of tobacco, I don't, it can kill me. The smell of pot won't. You have a fireplace? Everytime you burn wood your particulate smoke takes a little life out of me. You drive a gas powered car, lawnmower or generator? Your killing me. I don't use any of those... See the trees through the forest and suggest solutions, not just complaints.
  4. Hear Ye
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    Hear Ye - December 18, 2013 3:34 pm
    Holy hyperbole!
  5. Really napa
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    Really napa - December 18, 2013 5:01 pm
    You think they will be able to get 3,750 marijuana users off their parents couch , turn off their play stations, get dressed out of their pj's and out to sign something???
  6. Bystander 1
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    Bystander 1 - December 18, 2013 5:57 pm
    Please let me know what know what neighborhood you are in, I think I want to move there. I do have to wonder how you know it is seeping through the walls as opposed to a lack of airtight seals around windows and such. I would suggest getting hemp resistant caulk and paint if possible A cloud of this magnitude should be visible through satellite imagery, so maybe I will try that to find your neighborhood that way
  7. logicalnapkin
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    logicalnapkin - December 18, 2013 6:38 pm
    My point is everyone else shouldn't have to smell another's stink. If you have to smoke dope to cope, smoke it inside your own walls. Be considerate to your neighbors who can't just up and leave their home because you can't keep it inside. You ask for compassion? Have compassion. It works both ways.
  8. napa1957
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    napa1957 - December 18, 2013 6:46 pm have no idea who "uses" in this town! You'd be surprised how many folks in well respected positions of authority, earning great salaries, active in the community...indulge on occasion.
  9. Really napa
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    Really napa - December 18, 2013 7:40 pm
    Are you talking About Mott and Sedgley?
  10. Cadence
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    Cadence - December 18, 2013 8:41 pm
    Unless the stink comes from diesel; then it's all A-OK, huh? Diesel, with its high particulates, nauseating aroma, proven carcinogenic properties, and emitted daily by loud, shiny new jacked up pickups replete with chrome rims? (those rims have never met a stretch of mud.)

    Cry me a river.
  11. Fleece Finder
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    Fleece Finder - December 18, 2013 8:57 pm
    I wonder if the closing of Gordon Huethers Art Gallery has anything to do with the movement and his Grand Re-opening next year you got one making money with ice now and maybe one with sweet leaf. Sounds like Napa's style.
  12. logicalnapkin
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    logicalnapkin - December 18, 2013 9:19 pm
    I think the question of whether or not pot destroys brain cells has been confirmed.
  13. FrostedCookies
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    FrostedCookies - December 18, 2013 10:25 pm
    If people need to smoke for truly medicinal reasons, I think I can manage to wrap my head around that. I agree that people have a right to choose what they want for their lives as well, although I can very honestly say that I don not understand wanting to smoke something that smells like the fluid that comes from the butt of an animal, but to each his own. What bothers me about this is how many people are willing to jump all over someone that just wants to be able to breathe the air in their own home. If you have every door and window shut and the smell of anything you don't like enters home whether it is pot smoke or anything else, wouldn't you want whoever was responsible to either change where they do it? Is it really necessary to try to make someone feel like they can't be comfortable in their own home? How about if the tables were reversed. Do you have the funds to make sure your dwelling will not let any offensive odor in if that was happening? I don't think anyone is saying pot smokers have to quit smoking, just be considerate of neighbors that don't want it in their house. I for one live in a house without air conditioning in the summer. Does that mean that if my neighbor smokes pot, I either have to let the smoke enter my home or not have any relief from the elements (I do not have the funds to install air conditioning at the moment)? Everyone is so quick to defend their pot smoking because it doesn't kill like cigarettes do, but what about the fact the smoke causes nausea and very bad headaches for some people? How is this fair to them.
    You talk about your rights to smoke, but what about my rights not to breathe in animal butt smell?
  14. FrostedCookies
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    FrostedCookies - December 18, 2013 11:12 pm
    I agree that people have the right to choose pot if they want. However, I live in a house without air conditioning and do not have the funds to get it at the moment. Does this really mean that I either 1) Have to suffer the smell of something akin to animal butt in order to have cooler air at night in my home via open windows? Or 2) Close up my house and boil to death in order to not smell animal butt smell because I have neighbors that can't just buy a hepa filter and smoke in their own home?
    If pot smokers don't want that smell in their home, why would someone who doesn't smoke it want in theirs? Where is the logic? If a pot smoker was forced to have a stench (I don't care what it is, it's for the sake of arguement) come into their home through the walls even if their house was completely shut, would they really not want some kind of change? As a person that doesn't smoke, I try very hard to allow that good people smoke, but where is the effort on the other side?
  15. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - December 18, 2013 11:59 pm
    Lol! Look at the bright side. Those who don't smoke will have a higher competitive edge. And I suppose if a majority of Americans all get dumbed down at the same time, we'll be ok as long as we restrict the competitive edge of countries who aren't stoned out of their minds!

    Seriously though, I know where you're coming from on the smoke issue. It doesn't matter what type of smoke it is, I get asthma from it. I think California should consider restrictions in living units with shared walls, just like they have with tobacco.
  16. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - December 19, 2013 12:14 am
    Ask yourselves why a medical marijuana dispensary would be so persistent in efforts to set up business when pot will be legalized in California in 2014? Why all the fuss when pot will be legalized before all the dust has settled and a dispensary hasn't even set up shop? The polls so far suggest definite legalization. If it's legalized, dispensaries will be unnecessary.

    There's only one reason for business people to set up pre legalization dispensaries. Dispensaries will be given preferential treatment for licensing and distribution, at least initially during the phase in period. This gives them a foot in the door. Corporations are buying up dispensaries in states where legalization has occurred.

    Do we really want corporations to get their foot in the door or should that opportunity be given to ma and pa growers whose focus has been on safety and quality of a product? The City will have more control over who sets up business here if a dispensary does not yet have a foothold.
  17. Crosscountrykid
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    Crosscountrykid - December 19, 2013 2:22 pm
    vocal, your insight about corporations stepping in if pot ever goes mainstream is right on target. I think it will be a major unintended consequence. Ain't saying it's good or bad, but it will happen if there is big legal money to be made. Ironically, the current situation may be the best scenario, in that a single small time user who truly wants or needs pot can obtain it at an affordable price and relatively little hassle. I'd kinda like to see how legalization plays out in CO and other states before CA jumps in too far.
  18. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - December 19, 2013 3:48 pm
    Also, I'm disappointed with Peter Mott and Scott Sedgley because they did not fully think this thing through.

    I totally get it when elected officials vacillate back and forth when trying to make a decision. A good decision maker considers all sides. But it's the final decision that counts and these two council members would have allowed medical dispensary access into Napa, giving it a foothold, without considering longterm consequences.

    Jill Techel, Juliana Inman and Alfredo Pedroza thought it out and their decision process probably involved more than concerns about breaking federal laws. More likely, their outlook was "let's wait it out and see how recreational legalization evolves in Washington and Colorado before jumping the gun here."

    Let's pay close attention to how Colorado and Washington handle their dispensaries and whether or not they become the center of recreational distribution with corporate takeover (and control).

  19. napasnotright
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    napasnotright - December 19, 2013 3:52 pm
    Whats the basis for the argument you are making? Medical marijuana is already in napa and is legal to smoke out doors so how would a dispensary affect anything? Everyone i know has a cannabis card which makes it legal to smoke anywhere you want unless by a school and people do it all the time. Having a place to get it in napa is not going to change anything. As well kids have been getting weed in schools forever they still can and will its not coming from the clubs
  20. napasnotright
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    napasnotright - December 19, 2013 3:53 pm
    Also how can the city even deny this dispensary to exist in napa?under what law? Seems unconstitutional to me its been voted on and passed like it or not
  21. xXGotGrapesXx
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    xXGotGrapesXx - December 19, 2013 5:29 pm
    Tis Techel, Inman and the biggest sell out Pedroza that failed our city and citizens. I understand Techel and Inman and their Elizabeth Hasselbeck wanna be acts, but Pedroza? Suuuuure dude sure. Be a man, not a puppet.
  22. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - December 19, 2013 10:19 pm
    Actually, Pedroza is not being a puppet. At first I was worried about how he might perform as a councilman given his age and inexperience. He has proven me wrong.
    Those who voted to repeal the ordinance were treading with caution.

    You may not realize it as a supporter of legalization, but acting with caution right now will be beneficial to you because Napa will have more control over the type of vendors that come in and set up business. Hopefully they will be locals who will maintain a safer, higher quality product rather than some corporate created product with unknown chemicals added, like what you see with tobacco.

    Also, Scott Sedgley and Mott most likely bought the "medicinal use" argument lock, stock and barrel. They were trying to be compassionate.
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