Proposed ballot initiatives aim to end paid parking in South Lake Tahoe and ease city regulations on marijuana dispensaries and residential cultivation of medical marijuana.
The separate initiatives still must get enough signatures from registered voters in the city to appear on the ballot. But with title and summary language approved this week by City Attorney Thomas Watson, supporters of the initiatives can soon start trying to get the signatures they need.
“We feel the community deserves an opportunity to have a voice on this,” Peggy Bourland said of the push to overturn South Lake Tahoe’s paid parking program.
Bourland said the parking initiative’s supporters want the issue on the June ballot.
“We don’t have a lot of time, in part from delay by the city,” Bourland said, referring to the month it took to get title and summary language from the city attorney. “We have until Jan. 15 to get signatures for the June ballot, the elections office has indicated to us. We need about 940 signatures in 30 days.”
If passed, the initiative would prohibit South Lake Tahoe from charging people to park on public streets or parking lots.
The city could continue to charge for parking at city-owned garages and assess fines and penalties for unlawful vehicle parking. The initiative would not apply to Ski Run Boulevard south of Pioneer Trail.
At least 10 percent of the city’s registered voters must sign petitions to put an initiative on the ballot. If 15 percent or more sign, backers of the initiatives could ask the City Council to adopt them as-written or request a special election, Bourland said.
Steve Kubby is spearheading the medical marijuana initiative.
“Two completely unrelated groups have come to the conclusion that the City Council is not going to listen to them, that the process is broken and that they have to go to the extraordinary lengths to do these voter initiatives,” Kubby said.
The initiative would prohibit limits on the number of collectives, dispensaries or delivery services in the city, though dispensary owners or operators must be legal residents for at least one year before starting or operating one. Other parts of the initiative would:
• Let property owners restrict marijuana cultivation in rentals only if it is clearly stated in a rental agreement.
• Let dispensaries serve medical marijuana users with physician recommendation letters regardless of what state or country the user is from.
• Prohibit fees, regulations or local zoning requirements that defeat the purpose of the initiative as well as business licenses, fees, permits or taxes on medical marijuana users.
• Prohibit city officials and employees from cooperating with county, state or federal officials to eradicate marijuana, or from contracting to eradicate marijuana cultivated under the initiative. Violation would be a misdemeanor, punishable by fine and up to one year in prison.
• Properties or dwellings emitting cultivation odors would require odor suppression, with noncompliance resulting in fines up to $50 per day. Odor from smoking marijuana would not be a violation.
• Medical marijuana users would be allowed to grow six outdoor and 12 indoor mature flowering plants per person, not to exceed 12 outdoor or 24 indoor plants per household. The initiative allows more plants upon a physician’s written recommendation that the medical marijuana user needs more.
• Medical marijuana users would be allowed to transfer their marijuana to other medical marijuana users or collectives and to be paid, and allowed to smoke or ingest marijuana at dispensaries.