If they gather enough signatures of Mount Shasta voters, the city council would be forced to either adopt the resolution or place it on the November 3 General Election ballot.

A group of Mount Shasta citizens on Monday filed a local ballot initiative to stop the expansion of industrial cannabis businesses in the city. If they gather enough signatures of Mount Shasta voters, the city council would be forced to either adopt the resolution or place it on the November 3 General Election ballot.

The Keep Cannabis Away from Kids coalition said the measure would not affect the ability of residents to access of cannabis for “legal medicinal and adult personal use,” but it would establish a strict 600 foot buffer zone between cannabis businesses and schools; prohibit cannabis businesses in residential zones; and create new hoops for industrial cannabis business owners to jump through to ensure they comply with state and local requirements.

The measure would also prevent the city council from making changes to cannabis-related ordinances without voter approval.

“The initiative would cap the current number of industrial cannabis licenses and prohibit any further industrial cannabis licenses from being issued in Mount Shasta,” said Keep Cannabis Away from Kids chairman Tom Scovill.

Over time, Scovill added, the initiative would reduce the presence of industrial cannabis businesses as licenses are surrendered or revoked.

The coalition was responsible for a successful referendum last year that halted an ordinance to reduce the buffer zone around schools from 600 feet to 450 feet for industrial cannabis businesses with no public access.

At the center of the controversy was Jefferson Soul’s planned expansion into a building on Siskiyou Avenue that was less than 600 feet away from the “I AM” school.

“The city council and staff have turned Mount Shasta into a hub for the industrial marijuana industry, putting their business interests ahead of community residents,” said Scovill, a retired educator who spent 32 years as a teacher and administrator with the Siskiyou and Shasta County Offices of Education, living in the Mount Shasta area since 1975.

Scovill added that the city “has issued one of the highest numbers of cannabis industry licenses per capita in all of northern California.”

The Keep Cannabis Away from Kids coalition also alleges the city council’s effort to reduce the buffer zone to accommodate Jefferson Soul was “improper” and said the city “failed to provide a transparent, publically accountable industrial licensing process.”

The initiative was filed Monday at Mount Shasta City Hall and the city attorney now has 15 days to prepare a title and summary. After a public notice is published in the newspaper, the coalition will be allowed to begin gathering signatures of Mount Shasta voters.

Mount Shasta has approximately 2,250 registered voters, and the coalition would need to gather and verify 10 percent of that number (officially determined by Siskiyou County Clerk Laura Bynum) before Aug. 7 for their effort to be successful.

Scovill believes that won’t be a problem. Last year’s referendum garnered the signatures of 750 Mount Shasta voters, he said, and he expects the public to be equally supportive of this effort.

“Turning our small community into a hub for industrial cannabis businesses is a bad direction for Mount Shasta, one that changes the character of our community,” said Scovill. “This is not a business model that is suited to our tourist community which depends on maintaining an image of health. With the filing of this initiative, the people of Mount Shasta are taking back control to prevent our community from becoming an industrial marijuana center that will damage our town while elevating the desires of cannabis industry businesses ahead of those of local residents.”