The first successful Santa Cruz County voter referendum in 13 years has suspended an ordinance adopted by the County Board of Supervisors to ban all commercial cannabis cultivation. The ban was adopted on April 14, and was to go into effect on May 15.
Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz (RCSC) circulated the referendum and after only 21 days filed 11,210 signatures with the county, with 7,248 valid signatures required to qualify the referendum for the ballot.
The ordinance was suspended when the Santa Cruz County Clerk Elections Department confirmed on May 11 that the referendum petitions contained more than the minimum number of signatures. The county has 30 calendar days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, from the date the petition was filed, May 7, to verify the validity of the signatures.
As provided in the California Elections Code, 500 randomly selected petition signatures will be verified initially. For this referendum, 71.1 percent of the randomly selected signatures must be valid to qualify the referendum for the ballot based on the random sample count alone.
As of 4 pm on Friday, May 15, the Clerk's office had processed 266 signatures and found 73.6 percent of them to be valid. Based on this trend, the referendum will most likely qualify for the ballot when the remaining 234 randomly selected signatures have been checked.
If the validity rate at that point is below 71.1 percent, all of the signatures must be verified. To reach the minimum 7,248 required, an overall validity rate above 64.7 percent must be maintained in a full count.