A citizen-backed initiative to regulate and tax commercial marijuana in San Bernardino could be left off the November ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
In June, a political action committee backed by cannabis activist and real estate developer Stephanie Smith submitted to the City Clerk’s Office 11,000 signatures from registered voters in the city.
A random sampling of 500 signatures by the Registrar of Voters last week, however, indicated a validity rate well below the threshold to place the measure on the ballot.
The committee’s attorney learned about the findings Friday.
Smith, of Pacific Palisades, has advocated for the regulation and taxation of marijuana in several Inland cities.
The mother of five has outstanding lawsuits against the cities of Colton, San Bernardino, Hemet and Moreno Valley that claim certain regulations implemented by city leaders could create monopolistic markets.
Smith has pressed San Bernardino on its marijuana laws since police seized tens of thousands of marijuana plants from four of her warehouses in two different raids less than a week apart late last year.
“Citizens of San Bernardino are tired of regressive cannabis policies and lack of governance,” she said after the petitions were delivered on June 25.
Of the 11,161 signatures gathered by Smith’s committee, 8,671 – 77 percent – needed to be valid for the initiative to go before voters.
To meet that standard, 428 of the 500 pulled by the Registrar of Voters had to be legitimate.
Only 306 were deemed so.
The City Clerk’s Office will take no further action on the petition as a result.
He did not say Monday whether any other Inland cities have notified him of failed petitions.
“Every time you do an initiative, some signatures come back invalid,” he said in a phone interview. “We are awaiting some conversations with some of the cities to make sure we qualify elsewhere or if there are more conversations that need to be had.”