The Fresno County cannabis referendum is drawing to a close with a hard deadline to submit petition signatures by THIS WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5!
You must be a registered Fresno County voter to sign the petition; you can register to vote online.
CIRCULATORS: For pickup of your petition(s), please call 559-270-1411. You MUST turn in the signatures you gathered, even if the petition is incomplete, to comply with California elections law.
ACTION ALERT!! The deadline to file petitions is Wednesday, Feb. 5!!!
What is this referendum about?
On Jan. 7, 2014, Fresno County supervisors passed a new law that totally bans the cultivation of medical cannabis. Ordinance 14-001 applies to all qualified patients who grow their own cannabis, regardless of garden size or whether they grow indoors or outdoors. It is a COMPLETE GROWING BAN with zero plants allowed, and heavy fines that start at $1,000 per plant for violations. The ordinance also continues the county’s ban on medical cannabis dispensaries. Read more about the Fresno County cannabis ban.
What is a referendum?
The referendum process is used to when voters wish to challenge laws passed at the state or local level. If successful, the referendum can block enforcement of the law until it is repealed by the legislative body that passed it, or until the law is placed on the ballot for consideration by voters. The process is explained in further detail on pages 30-33 of the Fresno County elections procedures guide.
How many signatures are needed?
The number of signatures must equal or exceed 10 percent of the registered voters who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial election. The target figure is 20,130 signatures, which equals 10 percent of the 201,300 ballots cast in November 2010 (ref: Fresno County elections results). Because petition signatures are reviewed by elections officials to confirm they belong to registered voters, signature gatherers set goals much higher than the actual number of signatures needed.
Can I sign the petition if I’m not a registered voter?
Sure, it’s physically possible — but it won’t be counted. Only signatures from registered Fresno County voters will count toward the referendum; if you’re not registered yet, you may register at the Fresno County elections office or register to vote online.
How will my personal information be used?
The personal information that’s collected in a referendum petition is governed and protected by the California Elections Code. Your name, signature and street address are required so that elections officials can verify the number of registered Fresno County voters who signed the petition. You provided the same information when you registered to vote, so the petition is checked against the voter rolls for accuracy. Putting pen to paper on a referendum petition is not only required by state law, it’s also the most secure way to handle your information.
SIGNING THE PETITION DOES NOT RISK YOUR PRIVACY! Referendum petitions, once filed with the county elections officials, ARE NOT public records and ARE NOT open to the general public for inspection. (Government Code §6253.5.)
How do I become a petition circulator?
Anyone 18 and older can circulate referendum petitions. You do not have to be a Fresno County resident to circulate the referendum, but you must be a registered Fresno County voter to sign the petition. Call 559-270-1411 for petition pickup and delivery.
Here’s what you do:
Step One: Sign a circulator statement. Under California elections law, we must keep a signed copy of this statement for each circulator. You only need to sign this once. Fill it out, sign it and turn it in with your petition(s).
Step Two: Read and understand the printed circulator instructions you will receive with your petition. These are for your use and contain all the do’s and don’ts. There is a QR code you can show to people with smartphones that navigates to this page if they have any general questions about the referendum.
Step Three: Hit the ground running with your very own Fresno County cannabis referendum petition. Get as many signatures you can on each petition before starting a new one to save paper and printing costs.
There is a circulator declaration on the last page of each petition that must be filled out after you’ve finished collecting signatures. If this isn’t done correctly, the whole petition can be rejected.
Attention to detail is a must! You cannot leave your petition unattended on a store counter or let friends and family help you in any way. Each petition has only one circulator, and each circulator must sign statements that she or he witnessed each signature. Follow the link above for detailed circulator instructions.
Where can I pick up a petition?
Several brief training sessions for petition circulators are scheduled at The Hashtag, 1298 N. Wishon Ave., Fresno. (Map.) If you cannot attend a scheduled training session, please use the contact form, call 559-270-1411, or download and print the referendum petition yourself.
That first petition was fun. Now what?
We will gladly accept even one petition with 40 valid signatures, but TIME IS SHORT! We need 20,130 valid signatures and a whole lot more than that as insurance against bad signatures. If everyone does one petition, we need to raise a small army of 5,000 volunteers. If 500 people do 12-plus petitions each, the numbers add up better. Do the math and it’s easy to see we need more people with more petitions in circulation. Our hard deadline is Feb. 5!
Grab more petitions. Adopt a sense of urgency. Polish your sales skills. Blast links on your social media! If we go viral, we win.
Our other urgent needs include:
- Cash donations for printing and other expenses.
- Committed volunteers to circulate at shopping centers and local events.
- Bring your own chairs, tables, pens, clipboards, cardboard signs, tape, sunscreen and hats, handwarmers … you name it. Please support the cause by supporting yourself and sharing resources with others.
- Social media support is huge! Check out Fresno Cannabis on Facebook and be sure to share the events posted there.
- Want to donate? Use the contact form or call 559-270-1411.