Mendocino County pot panel proposal falls short on signatures

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A controversial proposed Mendocino County ballot initiative that sought to give authority over marijuana regulation to an appointed commission won’t make it onto the November ballot.

Proponents of the initiative collected an estimated 2,797 signatures by Monday, their submissions deadline with the Mendocino County elections office. The proposal needed at least 5,004 valid signatures from registered Mendocino County voters to be eligible for the ballot.

Proponents have said they planned to ask county supervisors to directly place the initiative on the ballot instead. Most supervisors have expressed strong opposition to the proposal, in part because it appeared to hand the appointed commission far-reaching authority. Supervisors said such authority should only come with elected office.

The initiative would have created a 13-member “Mendocino Cannabis Commission” dominated by people in the marijuana industry. Proponents said it would just advise the board on regulation and taxation policies for cannabis. But the initiative stated that the commission, “is hereby established and empowered to oversee and promulgate cannabis policy, standards, principles, regional heritage appellations, regulations and enforcement mechanisms.” It also exempted from taxation family farmers and growers grossing less than $250,000 from pot sales.

The Board of Supervisors would have been “required to uphold the values, beliefs and rights enumerated” in the initiative.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MendoReporter.

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