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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Butte County
Measure L Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


40,320 votes yes (44.6%)

50,079 votes no (55.4%)

100% of precincts reporting (141/141).

90,399 ballots counted.

Shall the ordinance entitled "Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Commerce" be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Butte County Counsel

Measure L is proposed by voters in Butte County who signed an initiative petition. The measure is a proposed ordinance that establishes new regulations regarding the cultivation of medical cannabis and related commercial activities within Butte County consistent with the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. The proposed ordinance would:


1. Repeal Chapter 34A of the Butte County Code that regulates the cultivation of medical marijuana;
2. Amend Section 24-166 of the Butte County Code that currently prohibits marijuana dispensaries and permit marijuana dispensaries within the county;

3. Require that all existing cannabis cultivations and related commercial activities comply with the new regulations within 12 months of adoption of the regulations;

4. Establish new land use requirements for the cultivation of medical cannabis and related commercial activities including:

a. Generally permitting outdoor, indoor, and mixed commercial cultivations in most zones including in the Agriculture Zones, Foothill Residential Zones, Rural Residential Zones, and Very Low Density Residential Zones;

b. Permitting commercial cultivations in all Agriculture Zones on acres greater than five acres with cultivation areas up to 25% of the total square footage of a parcel;

c. Permitting the distribution, transportation, and manufacturing of cannabis, and dispensary operations, in the Agriculture Zones, Foothill Residential Zones, Rural Residential Zones, Commercial and Mixed Use Zones, and Industrial Zones with a Conditional Use Permit or an Administrative Permit;

d. Prohibiting outdoor cultivation in the Low, Medium, Medium High, High Density, and Very High Density Residential Zones; on parcels that are less than one-quarter acre in size regardless of zoning district; and on parcels within 1,000 feet of a K-12 public or private school or a licensed daycare facility;

e. Permitting indoor cultivation in the Sports and Entertainment Zone with an Administrative Permit; and

f. Establishing an exemption in all zoning districts for personal cultivations that are 100 square feet or less for a single patient or 500 square feet or less for five patients, unless the cultivations are in a prohibited zone, in which case a Zoning Clearance would be required.

5. Establish requirements and procedures for Zoning Clearances, Administrative Use Permits, and Conditional Use Permits for the cultivation of medical cannabis and related commercial activities;

6. Establish various design requirements for parcels that contain cannabis cultivations and related commercial activities;

7. Require persons and entities engaged in commercial cannabis activities to obtain all required state and local licenses and permits; and

8. Not classify cannabis as a nuisance unless a person or entity is in violation of the new regulations or a related permit.


A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of the proposed ordinance which would repeal Butte County’s current regulations regarding the cultivation of medical marijuana, repeal the prohibition of marijuana dispensaries, and adopt the above provisions.


A “no” vote is a vote to reject the proposed ordinance and maintain Butte County’s current regulations regarding the cultivation of medical marijuana and the prohibition of marijuana dispensaries.


The measure must be approved by a majority of the voters to take effect.



s/Bruce S. Alpert County Counsel County

Financial effect

Butte County Clerk-Recorder

The Butte County Auditor-Controller has prepared the following fiscal impact analysis of Measure “L” (Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Commerce) pursuant to Election Code Section 9160. This analysis of the resulting costs and revenues of the proposed measure is based on projected requirements to fulfill the intent of the measure.

Fiscal Impact:

The fiscal impact of this measure on county government and on individuals is largely unknown, but can be projected from the following perspectives, should the ordinance pass:

First, various permit types for commercial medical cannabis activities would be established by the proposed ordinance. Revenues from fees related to the implementation of the proposed ordinance would be generated for the County. The application and permit fees would be determined based upon a cost recovery model to cover the costs of processing applications and issuing permits. For example, Conditional Use Permit application filing fees are $6,163.69 or more, depending on processing time. A Zoning Clearance for permitted uses is charged a minimum fee of $81.50 for half-hour reviews plus hourly rate. Estimation of exactly how many and what types of permits would be issued due to the proposed ordinance, is unknown at this time. Although the goal for fees is to cover costs, actual costs would be higher than the potential fees collected. Additionally, applications received within 12 months of the proposed ordinance passing would receive a reduction in fees, which may also result in fees not covering the full costs.

Second, commercial uses are subject to county development Impact Fees; therefore, Impact Fees revenue would increase with more applications for development. The county Impact Fees for low intensity uses are the greater of $0.55 per square foot or $1,130 per acre. Other non-residential uses range from $1.30 to $2.15 per square foot. Commercial uses in the Chico Urban Area can be up to $17.25 per square foot. The total increase of revenues from Impact Fees is unknown.

Third, Chapter 34A of the Butte County Code is currently enforced by Butte County Department of Development Services Code Enforcement Division. The costs to enforce Section 24-166 of the Butte County Zoning Ordinance, as amended by the proposed ordinance, would be directly related to the number of properties reported in violation of provisions of the ordinance. Additional demands for code enforcement activities would be expected because additional uses allowed under the proposed ordinance would increase public inquiries and complaints to code enforcement. It is estimated by County Department of Development Services that increased costs may range from $80,000 to $160,000 per year for additional code enforcement staff.

Measure L does not include any local tax prevision; however, the County may impose a tax on the privilege of cultivating, dispensing, producing, processing, preparing, storing, providing, donating, selling, or distributing medical cannabis or medical cannabis products by a licensee, pursuant to Business and Professions Code Chapter 3.5 Section 19348. Such tax shall be subjected to voter approval.

David A. Houser, Butte County Auditor-Controller 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR


End the adversarial politics of cannabis, focus on solutions.

Throughout its history, growing cannabis in California existed in a legal “gray area.” No longer. New state laws take effect this January that will subject medical cannabis to a comprehensive licensing system for commercial cultivation, sale, distribution, and testing. Cannabis will be regulated and taxed, and income from its sale will generate major economic activity.

The Republican-controlled Congress stripped DEA funding for cannabis enforcement, upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Veterans Administration approved cannabis use for PTSD and is conducting its own studies. The National Institute of Health confirms reductions in opiod addition and death in states where medical cannabis is available, Medicare costs are down significantly in those same states.

After nearly 20 years MIA – post Prop 215 – the California legislature and governor stepped up and created a regulatory framework for use by cities and counties, the Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Commerce Act. Measure L brings Butte County into compliance with new state laws without abandoning any local controls.

The whole notion that patients can or should “grow their own” is simply unrealistic. Asking ill or elderly citizens to grow in a box is inappropriate at best. Patients deserve local access to safe, clean, tested and labeled products that meet the recommendations of their doctors. Today, many Butte County patients must commit a criminal act in order to acquire cannabis.

Measure L is the local ordinance that Butte County needs to protect patients, ensure local control, deliver local benefits.

Concerned about crime? Regulate!
Concerned about the environment? Regulate!
Concerned about children or neighborhoods? Regulate!
Prohibition creates crime and fuels a black market.
Regulation Is the solution.

Finally! A Solution that works for Everyone.

Vote Yes On Measure L.

s/Jessica MacKenzie, Inland Farmers Political Alliance 

— Butte County Clerk-Recorder

Arguments AGAINST


Vote No: Here we go again! Measure L is the latest profiteering scheme concocted by commercial marijuana growers who want to overturn three voterapproved ordinances that protect Butte County residents from their abusive practices.

Here’s why Butte County Law Enforcement, Educators, Farmers, and Community leaders urge you to Vote No on Measure L:

Jeopardizes Public Safety: Measure L removes legal protections that the people of Butte County passed to stop pot grower abuse and protect our neighborhoods from criminal activities associated with commercial marijuana cultivation. It puts the safety of local citizens at greater risk from intimida-tion and violence.

Destroys Our Quality Of Life—Measure L promotes a massive expansion of commercial marijuana that will make Butte County a magnet for gangs, addicts and drug dealers. It creates a harmful drug culture that will forever change the character of our local communities.

Measure L allows marijuana to be grown on 25% of parcel sizes—subjecting neighboring residents to the constant stench of skunk-like odors produced by large outdoor grows.

Increases Neighborhood Crime: Measure L allows commercial marijuana dispensaries to operate every 1,000 feet—a density of 25 pot shops per square mile! Since dispensaries operate on a cash-only basis, they are prime targets for armed robbers.

Damages The Environment: Measure L takes away local controls that protect our environment from the destructive activities of commercial marijuana growers. It will lead to a major depletion of local water supplies, increased chemical runoff into our streams, and increased wildlife deaths due to poisoning.

Measure L is a Loser for the people of Butte County. It was written to benefit marijuana operators--Not to help medical cannabis patients. Regardless of your position on marijuana legalization, please join us in Voting No on Measure L.

s/Kory Honea, Sheriff
s/Michael L. Ramsey, District Attorney
s/Linda L. Dahlmeier, Mayor, City of Oroville
s/Reanette Fillmer, Chico City Council Councilmember
s/Clark Becker, President Butte County Farm Bureau 

— Butte County Clerk-Recorder

Replies to Arguments FOR


Vote No! Measure L is a Loser for the people of Butte County.

Notice how the author says Nothing about what’s actually contained in Measure L? No specifics. No explanation of Measure L’s disastrous impacts on the quality of life for Butte County residents.

Why? Because Measure L is a Giveaway to commercial marijuana growers. It puts their profits above the public good. Here are the Facts about Measure L that the marijuana industry is hiding from you:

No Local Control: Contrary to the author’s false statement, Measure L does in fact eliminate three major local control protections (Measures A, G and H) which were passed by the voters of Butte County.

No Protection: Measure L creates a massive expansion of commercial cultivation and production. Outdoor grows on 25% of parcel sizes without plant limits. Indoor grows of 22,000 square feet (1/2 acre sized warehouse!) No permits required for “personal” grows.

No Safety: Measure L allows “pot shops” to operate every 1,000 feet—a much higher density than permitted for bars. The California Police Chiefs Association has found that dispensaries are associated with significant crime impacts in surrounding neighborhoods.

No Economic Benefit: Counties with the heaviest marijuana industry influence—like Humboldt and Mendocino—are among the poorest and least healthy in California. The high crime and addiction rates produced by commercial marijuana lead to poverty, Not prosperity.

Vote No on Measure L. It is a Profiteering Scheme that would unleash the worst aspects of the drug culture on our local communities.

s/Jerry W. Smith, Butte Co Sheriff Ret.
s/Maureen A. Kirk, Butte County Supervisor, District 3
s/Andrew Coolidge, Chico City Council Councilmember
s/Dr. Mark Lundberg, Physician/Doctor
s/David Daley, Vice-President, California Cattlemen’s Association/Professor 

— Butte County Clerk-Recorder

Replies to Arguments AGAINST


Vote Yes!

Opposition Flat Out Wrong
All traditional farmers seek profit, profit does not equal profiteering. A well-regulated legitimate market is proven to diminish, not increase, the negative consequences of a black market. Measure L leaves rigorous environmental oversight with the State Water Board. And Butte County retains the right to determine the number of dispensaries for itself.

Can't Leave Things As They Are
An exploding heroin epidemic, blighted properties, inadequate rural policing are only a few issues that suffered due to the $1.4 million diverted to cannabis enforcement last year. And the arrest of local narcotics officers for absconding with confiscated cannabis and selling it across the country demonstrates just one problem with current enforcement priorities.

Founded on the premise that government should defend our life, liberty and property. Individual rights should be curtailed only when they infringe on others. Current Butte County practices have turned this upside-down.

Patients need dispensaries, dispensaries need medicine, medicine needs cultivators. While medical marijuana is legal in California, dispensaries and commercial cultivation are 100% banned in Butte County. Residents with prescriptions from their physicians are unable to fill them. Our current ordinance would leave only cartels and rogue growers to supply what should be a revenuegenerating industry for our County.

Measure L for Liberty. Designed to create jobs, generate revenue, and benefit all Butte County citizens, no matter their position on cannabis.

Without Measure L, Butte County will be the Loser. Vote Yes on L.

s/Jessica MacKenzie, Secretary, Inland Farmer’s Political Alliance

— Butte County Clerk-Recorder

More information

News (5)

In the weeds ~ Those for and against Measure L get their say — October 20, 2016 Chico News & Review
Measure L: Changes to medical pot rules — October 9, 2016 Chico Enterprise Record
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