LONG BEACH - Medical marijuana advocates have turned in signatures for a ballot measure that would overturn Long Beach's ban on collectives.
The Long Beach City Clerk's Office received 43,171 signatures from backers of the measure on Friday, Assistant City Clerk Poonam Davis said Wednesday. The number submitted is about 10,000 more than required by law.
Elections officials have until March 22 to verify the signatures.
The council would then call a special election at its next regular meeting, to take place in 88 days to 103 days, according to city election code.
Jeremy Coltharp, a spokesman for the initiative campaign, said proponents want to promote safe access for patients who use medical marijuana for relief from their ailments.
He said the group is willing to work with the city to operate legally under California's medical marijuana law.
"Whatever we need to do so people have safe access to their medicine," Coltharp said.
The proposed measure forbids collectives from locating near schools, parks or public beaches and calls for a 4 percent sales tax on gross marijuana sales to be paid to the city.
Coltharp suggested Long Beach may follow neighboring Los Angeles, which rescinded its ban on storefront medical marijuana shops last year to avoid a referendum that seemed likely to succeed.
The move may avoid the cost of a special election, put at $1.2 million to $1.4 million by City
Long Beach banned collectives of more than three people last February after its laws regulating the industry was struck down by an appeals court.
The state Supreme Court is considering a case that will determine the legality of cities' bans on medical marijuana dispensaries.