San Jose Pot Club Referendum Petitions Turned in at 4:20

UPDATE II: City communications director David Vossbrink provided the following statement and numbers on why the referendum efforts failed:

"On Friday, July 18, the City Clerk's Office accepted referendum petitions against Ordinances 29420 and 29421. Today, City Clerk staff completed a prima facie review with the following results:

  • Referendum on Ordinance 29420: Total raw signatures:  21,713.  Total needed:  33,262.  Difference -11,549
  • Referendum on Ordinance 29421: Total raw signatures: 22,866.  Total needed: 33,262.  Difference : -10,396"

UPDATE: City communications director David Vossbrink told San Jose Inside in an email Monday afternoon that the city clerk's office did not receive enough signatures on either petition to send to the county Registrar of Voters.

Protests offering free pot and medical marijuana prescriptions appear to have worked in the latest twist in San Jose's "Weed War."

Opponents of San Jose's ordinance on medical marijuana collectives made good on their pledge to try and overturn some of the city's new rules. According to an email sent out Friday by City Clerk Toni Taber, petitions for a referendum were received at exactly 4:20pm.

The process of validating signatures was scheduled to begin this morning. At least 33,262 valid signatures are required to move forward with the referendums. One referendum is aimed at changing the city's restrictions on how and where collectives can do business, and the other targets a database of patients' records.

This is the second time in three years the city has faced a challenge to pot club regulation, after the council decided to scrap a plan in late 2011.

The significance of the number 4:20, whether it be the date April 20 or the time of day, is a topic of casual to conspiratorial debate in cannabis circles.

In her email, which appears to have been received by the City Council and top city staff, Taber explains how the process to verify signatures will work.

"At 4:20 p.m., the proponents of the referendum petitions against Ordinance 29420 and Ordinance 29421, Marijuana Regulations, submitted their signed petitions," Taber wrote.

"I accepted those petitions, sealed the boxes and asked the proponents to sign the seals. At 8:00am on Monday, July 21, City Clerk staff will open the boxes and begin the prima facie count. The public and proponents are welcome to attend and verify the seals are unbroken.

"In accordance with San Jose City Charter section 1603, it has been determined that the County Clerk’s last official report of registration to the Secretary of State was 415,778 registered voters and that 8 percent of said registration would require 33,262 valid signatures to qualify the referendum petition. The prima facie count scheduled for July 21, 2014 will determine if, in accordance with Election Code Section 9240, that said petition contains sufficient signatures in order to qualify for filing. Should the prima facie review determine there are sufficient signatures, we will submit the petitions to the Registrar of Voters for a random sample verification.  The Random Sample verification may take up to 30 business days to complete. If the petition is found to be insufficient, no action shall be taken on the petition.  If the petition is found to be sufficient, I will certify the results to the City Council at the next regular meeting after receiving the verification from the Registrar of Voters."

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Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. What was with the 100K signature requirement they kept mentioning for the referendum?. I thought the lower requirement was for their own initiative.

    In any event, good luck to them.

    • I’m glad they didn’t have enough signatures but even if they did all the ones I signed were non existent names, thereby diluting the petition. Perfectly legal of course. I’m surprised no one else has even thought of this.

    • i know this can be a shock, but the biggest users of our medical system are senior citizens, and it should therefore come as no surprise that many medical marijuana users are in fact, retired…

        • Amen brother! Wait. Jon are you also addicted to Marijuana Prohibition?? I would think that you would see this as a wasteful pitiful attack on Liberty and free agency..

      • > that many medical marijuana users are in fact, retired…

        In the Obama economy, real “retirement” is becoming increasingly rare.

        The reality is that those park benchers you perceive as “retired” are more probably unemployed and unemployable.

        • I find it amazing how you manage to work “Obama” into everything. I guess he’s to blame for why you’re such a miserable human being.

    • God forbid someone smoke a plant in their own home! Retired… Must be an old fart who’s been indoctrinated by “reefer madness!” It’s the same as crack!

  2. Looks like someone was “bogarting” and failed to get the rquired number of signitures for the ballot measure.

    David S. Wall

  3. The Random Sample verification may take up to 30 business days to complete.

    Was it even a day? I’m guessing it wasn’t close. I hope they honor those vouchers. I’m sure there are some people with a lot of them.

  4. Sonds like the collectivistas were too loaded on their own sh*t to count. Short by one-third the necessary signatures! Far out, man…

  5. > SJOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE is what happens when your brain is cooked from watching Fox News.


    Your posting seems mighty judgmental and supremacist for a progressive. It sounds to me like you’re claiming some sort of exceptionalism for yourself and I doubt that it’s related to “American exceptionalism”.

    Please list the news sources that we little people must watch to be as smart as you.

      • > what good would that do. your brainwashed by Fox News.


        You’ve given up. You’re not even trying to save me from Fox News.

        Now I’ll never be as smart as you.

        I don’t think you’re being fair. You want to hog all the good progressive news for yourself.

  6. Colorado made $19 million dollars in the month of March . Imagine what San Jose could make if it got out of its own way.

  7. I suspect the real solution needs to come at the State level. If we had a legislature that had courage, they’d pass a state law clarifying the rules for pot clubs and trump local ordinances. Since they obviously don’t have the courage to do that unless you pay them for your votes like the insurance, medical, legal and other industries and interest groups – I suspect it’ll come in the form an initiative (Prop 420 in 2016?)

    The problem with initiatives is they are usually poorly written and designed to swindle the public in many cases with double speak in the title and language so it looks like your voting for something when you want to vote against it. In a functional state government, the issue could be raised with a draft measure, debated in public, in legislative committee and finally by the full legislature before being amended, improved and passed to go to the governor. They do have the option of “Referendum” whereby a piece of legislation can be put of the ballot by the legislature for the public to vote yes/no on and I’d say that’s the way to go.

    BTW – Did I mention Obama? Nope I didn’t, but just in case someone wants to get pissed off let’s blame the House Republicans and President Obama for the petition not qualifying for the ballot in San Jose. (Feel free to offend yourselves and those listening to you as you try to explain the cosmic conspiracy behind both the Democrats and Republicans and our government.)

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