The City of Pasadena sued itself over a controversial cannabis ballot initiative – and won. The result is a judge has ordered the county to remove the proposed measure from the city ballot in the upcoming March election. Had the initiative passed, it would have legalized some 18 cannabis businesses operating without in the city without permits.
Not only would those stores have been legalized, but they wouldn’t be subjected to the same set of stringent rules laid forth in the city’s permitting process. The rules for pot shop permitting in Pasadena are so strict, in fact, that it only allows four-to-six retailers to operate in the city at a given time.
The measure had been signed by more than 9,000 residents, so the city clerk had no choice but to add it to the ballot. The city didn’t blame the clerk or other city employees for the proposed measure; they did what the law compelled them to do. But in order to remove it from the ballot, an attorney for the city explained there was no choice but to sue its own clerk as well as the county’s registrar of voters. Neither the clerk nor the city were defending the initiative; that was left to another lawyer who represented the interests of those backing it. Only a judge could determine whether a ballot initiative is unlawful in advance of such a vote. The city sought an expedient ruling, as a decision was needed by Christmas Eve in order to ensure the measure could be removed from the spring ballot. Continue reading