Pacific Grove was on its way to bringing one cannabis dispensary to town after a City Council majority voted 4-3 twice – on Sept. 2 and Sept. 16 – in favor of an ordinance allowing cannabis retail sales. The plan was to have a proposal by a dispensary company before the P.G. Planning Commission by Nov. 12. That is, until opponents of the ordinance got behind their own plan: a referendum to overturn it.
Resident Debby Beck hired a Los Angeles lawyer experienced in state laws surrounding referendums who guided her through the steps of putting the city on notice and creating a petition. She’ll need approximately 1,100 signatures within 30 days to stop the ordinance from going into effect. The City Council could overturn it itself or the matter would go to the voters.
“I feel very confident I’ll have the 1,100 signatures,” Beck says. She believes she’ll have enough signatures within two weeks.
While some opponents took a moral stance against allowing cannabis sales, Beck is taking an analytical approach. She says the council had little to go on in terms of a cost analysis and what it would actually cost the city in extra police and other staff members, among other issues. “It felt so rushed to me and that’s a concern,” she says.
Although 69 percent of registered voters in P.G. voted in favor of Proposition 64 in 2016, legalizing recreational cannabis for adults 21 and up, Beck believes that doesn’t mean those same voters support a dispensary within the city.
UPDATE: At the time Beck spoke to the Weekly, the estimated number needed was 1,100 signatures. The actual number turned out to be 1,045. It later rose to 1,069 as more people registered to vote before the General Election.