Berkeley Medical Marijuana Measure Fails in Recount of Vote
Alameda County Assistant Registrar Elaine Ginnold on Tuesday announced that Measure R, an initiative on the Nov. 2, 2004, Berkeley ballot that included provisions addressing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, lost a recount tally by 166 votes, slightly less than the original margin of 191, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Gregory Luke, an attorney representing Measure R advocates, challenged the result, saying it failed to provide public access to all voter records as required by state law. Luke has filed suit against the registrar over the handling of touch-screen electronic ballots in the recount. He said the recount must download results directly from voting machines and make audit logs and chain-of-custody records for the electronic data as it moved from the voting machines to memory cards to a central tabulating machine available to the public.
Ginnold said the registrar's office "did not consider [such documents or data] relevant for the record."
Fifty-three percent of all votes were cast on electronic voting machines, Ginnold said (Burress, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/12).
Measure R would have eliminated a requirement that medical marijuana dispensaries in the city obtain a use permit, instead allowing them to open anywhere permitted by zoning laws. Under existing rules, dispensaries for medical marijuana are required to undergo a permit process, including a public hearing, before they are allowed to open. The new system would have eased rules requiring a permit or public notice.
The measure also would have required the city to provide marijuana to patients if state or federal agents seized patients' authorized personal supplies. The measure would have replaced Berkeley's current provision limiting medical marijuana users to 10 marijuana plants with language that allows patients to possess marijuana for medical purposes in quantities determined by "personal needs," as defined by doctors and patients.
In addition, the measure would have established a peer-review committee to oversee the safety and operation of the city's medical marijuana dispensaries (California Healthline, 12/3/04).