Voters Defeat Berkeley Ballot Measure Including Provisions for Medical Use of Marijuana
Measure R, a measure on the Nov. 2 Berkeley ballot that included provisions addressing usage of marijuana for medical purposes, was defeated "by the slimmest of margins," reflecting a "slow creep of support" from absentee and provisional ballots, according to final results released Tuesday by the Registrar of Voters, the Contra Costa Times reports. About 49.8% of Berkeley voters supported the measure (Kurhi, Contra Costa Times, 12/3).
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 loosened the rules to preclude the need for a permit or public notice.
The measure also would have required the city to provide marijuana to patients if state or federal agents seize the patients' authorized personal supplies. It would replace 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, 8/24).