Lake County supervisors on Tuesday narrowly approved a June ballot measure that will ask voters to either repeal or affirm the county’s latest marijuana cultivation ordinance.
They had little choice after marijuana advocates turned in 4,222 signatures, more than enough to place the measure on the ballot.
The supervisors could have rescinded the marijuana ordinance themselves or placed it on the ballot. They also could have sought additional information before making the choice.
The vote was 3-1 to place it on the ballot with one abstention. Supervisor Jeff Smith said he voted no because he wanted additional information. Supervisor Denise Rushing abstained. She did not say why, Smith said.
Proponents of the referendum say they want to overturn the current ordinance because it’s too strict.
A Dec. 17 revision of the ordinance has been suspended pending the outcome of the referendum.
The revisions banned outdoor marijuana cultivation in residential neighborhoods in the unincorporated county.
Marijuana advocates say medical pot patients find it is too difficult and expensive to grow indoors.
The revised Lake County ordinance would have allowed outdoor growing on parcels larger than an acre, with up to a maximum of 48 plants on agricultural parcels larger than 20 acres.
The ordinance includes rules intended to prevent electrical fires at indoor marijuana-growing operations and control environmental damage from erosion and pesticides.
Referendum proponents have not submitted a counter proposal to the ordinance.
Voters in 2012 overwhelmingly turned down a pro-marijuana ballot measure that would have allowed up to 12 mature plants in residential backyards and up to 84 plants on properties of seven acres or more.
You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or firstname.lastname@example.org