Proponents of an initiative that aims to overturn Pomona’s ban on commercial marijuana operations have completed the first step in getting the measure on the November ballot.

The measure proposes to amend Pomona’s zoning code to allow commercial cannabis use by creating two zones: a self-described “safety access cannabis” zone in the middle of downtown and pockets of industrial area throughout the city.

“It is the intent and purpose of the cannabis overlay zones to allow cannabis businesses in portions of the city where such uses would be compatible with surrounding commercial and industrial uses and not materially detrimental to adjacent properties,” according to language in the proposed initiative.

The city banned commercial marijuana operations in late 2017.

Pomona residents Jacqueline Dilley and Andrea Villegas, who are pushing the measure, have asked to be represented by Kevin Salatti of the Claremont-based group Keep Our Community Safe. Neither of them could be reached for contact, nor could Salatii.

The proponents turned in signatures to City Hall earlier this month. Pomona City Clerk Eva Buice said she estimates it will be until the end of June before she can finish verifying the signatures. “It’s a very time-consuming process,” she said by phone Tuesday.

The group Keep Our Community Safe collected 8,891 signatures. Based on the secretary of state, the proponents need 6,256 certified signatures of registered Pomona voters to qualify for the ballot, Buice said.

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Buice said each signature has to be given a number and once that process is completed the numbers will go into a computer-generated drawing. The first 500 numbers generated will be used to verify those signatures, she said.

If the necessary signatures are verified the proposed initiative could go to the City Council in July for certification and then placed on the November ballot.

The proposed initiative would prohibit cannabis businesses 600 feet of a school, daycare, or youth center as defined by state law.

The safe access zone, which would be two blocks north of City Civic, would allow storefront, retail, micro business and distribution uses in the areas bound by Monterey Avenue, Third Street, Locust Avenue and Parcels Street. The measure would allow cannabis uses for 100 parcels within this zone.

The industrial zone would allow cannabis manufacturing, cultivation, testing laboratory and distribution on parcels zoned M-2 scattered around the city, including on lots east of Reservoris Street rail spur and lots between Pomona Boulevard and Mt. Vernon Avenue between Humane Way and Temple Avenue.

The proposed measure would impose an annual tax of $5 per square foot for the interior of the business that occupies the cannabis activity.

It would also limit the number of retail business permits to 1 per 25,000 residents, or about six permits. Under the proposal, it would also establish a city-issued business permit process, including a $250 application fee for businesses that will manufacture cannabis products which use volatile solvents. Those same businesses would be required to obtain a conditional use permit from the city.

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