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Cannabis referendum moves forward

Skye Kinkade

A referendum petition to halt an ordinance adjusting the buffer zone between some cannabis businesses and schools in Mount Shasta was found to be sufficient last week by the Siskiyou County Clerk.

Of the 755 signatures submitted by the Keep Cannabis Away From Kids coalition, 581 were found to be valid, said Laura Bynum on a County Clerk’s Certificate signed last Wednesday. Proponents needed just 223 signatures – 10 percent of Mount Shasta’s registered voters – to move the referendum process forward.

“The people of Mount Shasta have sent a loud and clear message to the city council that we do not support, and will not accept, reducing the protective buffer zone between cannabis businesses and sensitive areas where youth congregate to learn and play,” said Tom Scovill, Chairman of Keep Cannabis Away From Kids.

On a 3-1 vote on April 22, the city council approved an ordinance to reduce the buffer between cannabis businesses involved in the wholesale manufacturing of cannabis-related products with no public access and schools, daycare centers and youth centers from 600 to 450 feet.

With Bynum’s findings, the ordinance has been suspended and the city council will have the choice to repeal it or put it on a ballot for voters to decide in a special election or on the next general election ballot in November of 2020. Either way, the city would pay for election costs.

Scovill said he hopes the council repeals the ordinance, saving taxpayers the cost of holding an election “since a third of city residents have already stepped forward to sign the petition.”