Mendocino County’s Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance On Hold Due to a Voter Referendum

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The County of Mendocino recently adopted a comprehensive cannabis “expansion” ordinance that made sweeping changes to, among other things, the County’s commercial cannabis cultivation regulations. Mendocino County’s cannabis cultivation ordinance (the Commercial Cannabis Activity Land Use Development Ordinance, Chapter 22.18 of the Mendocino County Code) was set to go into effect on July 23, 2021 but is now on hold because a referendum to repeal the ordinance was circulated and appears to have collected enough signatures to be considered by the Board of Supervisors.

Mendocino County Anti-Cannabis Referendum

The referendum’s proponents call the referendum “The People’s Referendum to Save Our Water, Wildlife, and Way of Life”. Between the dates of June 24, 2021 and July 20, 2021 the referendum’s proponents needed to collect signatures from at least 10% of the registered voters in Mendocino County (approximately 3,400 signatures) in order for the referendum to qualify for a ballot vote and require Board of Supervisors action. According to reports, over 100 volunteers collected more than 6,000 signatures in support of the petition. The signatures were submitted to County election officials on July 20th; Mendocino County now has until September 1, 2021 to review and validate the signatures. 

What Happens Once Signatures Are Validated?

Assuming that the County validates at least 3,400 of the signatures collected, the Board of Supervisors will be required to take one of the following two actions at its first meeting after the validation date.

  1. Adopt the ordinance underlying the petition/referendum which repeals the entire Chapter 22.18 Commercial Cannabis Activity Land Use Development Ordinance; or
  2. Vote to place the ordinance underlying the petition/referendum on the County’s next general election ballot.

It looks like the stage is once again set for lots of change in Mendocino County. Check back here for more information as things continue to develop.

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