City of Sausalito – Commercial Cannabis Initiative to be Placed on 2022 General Election Ballot

After a somewhat contentious City Council meeting on July 27, 2021, the Sausalito City Council voted to place the Citizen’s Initiative Petition to Repeal Existing Regulations and Authorize One Storefront Retail and One Delivery Only Cannabis Retail Business to Operate in the City of Sausalito on the City’s next general election ballot. According to the City Attorney the general election date will be in November of 2022. This means that Sausalito residents decide whether the ordinance generated by the Citizen’s Initiative Petition proponent becomes law rather than the members of City Council.

For context, on April 21, 2021, pursuant to applicable portions of the California Elections Code, a Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition was filed with the City of Sausalito’s City Clerk with regard to an ordinance authorizing two cannabis retailers, one “Storefront Retailer” and one “Delivery-Only” business, to operate within Sausalito City limits. Following a variety of required actions, the proponent of the petition collected more than the required 601 signatures in support of the petition and the petition was therefore certified as sufficient to qualify as an initiative petition for the ballot.

Following the above referenced certification, the City Council was required to consider the petition at its July 27, 2021 meeting and take one of the following actions:

  1. Adopt the ordinance, without alteration, at the regular meeting at which the certification of the petition is presented, or within 10 days after it is presented; or
  2. Submit the ordinance, without alteration, to the voters pursuant to Election Code Section 1405; or
  3. Order a report pursuant to Section 9212 at the regular meeting at which the certification of the petition is presented. When the report is presented to the Council, the Council is required to either adopt the ordinance within 10 days or order an election pursuant to subdivision (b).

After heated debate about whether or not a report should be ordered to evaluate the ordinance underlying the petition, the majority of City Council members excluding the Mayor and Vice Mayor voted to submit the ordinance, without alteration, to the voters at the next general election without ordering City Staff to evaluate the ordinance and generate a report about it.

The basis for this decision seemed to be the fact that if City Council ordered a report pursuant to option three (3) above, said report would have to be prepared by City Staff within 30 days of the July 27, 2021 meeting. According to Council Member Blaustein, such a turnaround time would limit City Staff’s ability to focus on pressing issues such as fire safety and emergency
preparedness, both of which are extremely important giving the impending fire season.

Though a report was not ordered by City Council during the July 27th meeting, there does not appear to be anything stopping the Council from asking City Staff to generate a report evaluating the proposed ordinance at some point prior to the November 2022 election. Check back here in the coming weeks for more information about the proposed ordinance that will be voted on by Sausalito residents in 2022.

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