by David Downs
The statewide crackdown on medical marijuana hit Sacramento County the hardest. Not only did federal and local drug warriors exterminate the county's thriving crop of dispensaries, the county banned homegrowing and has begun harassing small gardeners. Those days look numbered, however.
A group of closed dispensary operators including Kimberly Cargile of Common Roots and David Spradlin of Magnolia Wellness, plus 240 volunteers and campaign coordinator Mickey Martin of Martinez is working to end the homegrow ban, as well as permit, tax and regulate about 20 dispensaries. The group is using the county initiative process to install local law by popular vote, going over the heads of county supervisors.
The group has met its funding goals of about $100,000, said Martin, and the “Patient Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act of 2012” has gathered about 20,000 signatures. It'll need about 42,300 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Professional signature gatherers picked up the initiative last week, fanning out at events like Pride Weekend in Sacramento. The Committee for Safe Patient Access to Regulated Cannabis intends to gather even more signatures and file at least 60,000 of them by late June, said Martin.
Once the signatures are verified, PARMCA2012 should appear on the November ballot, setting up what will be a close contest. Sacramento County voters are split evenly on the issue, Martin said, but a vote on it is beginning to look certain.
“We think June is going to be a big month and we're going to be able to pull it off without any problems,” Martin said.