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Support sensible marijuana policy initiative @ city council mtg

Tuesday, July 25, 2006
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Santa Cruz City Hall
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: 831-420-5030

The Santa Cruz Citizens for Sensible Marijuana Policy have qualified an initiative for the November ballot that will make private adult marijuana offenses the lowest police priority. But without your help, voters might not get a chance to vote on the measure!

On Tuesday, July 25 at 3:00 p.m., the Santa Cruz City Council will hear arguments about placing the initiative on the November ballot. Recently, the city attorney wrote a report misrepresenting the initiative and the legal options that the city council has. The report suggests the council can refuse to place the initiative on the ballot, even while it notes a court case to the contrary. It also suggests that the initiative prohibits enforcing marijuana laws, when it simply makes them the lowest police priority.

Our attorneys have filed excellent legal memos that refute the claims and explain that the council's only options are to 1) adopt the measure, or 2) place it on the ballot. (These memos are part of the agenda packet which can be found at One of these attorneys, Keith Wagner, will be in attendance along with James Anthony, the vice-chair of the Oversight Committee for Measure Z, Oakland's version of our inititiative which won with 65% of the vote in 2004. Although Mayor Mathews, as of this writing, has refused to give these experts extra time to counter Barisone's report, they will be available for any questions the Council may have.

But we need your help to ensure that the city council puts the initiative on the ballot and doesn't challenge it! We need to send a strong message to both the city attorney and the city council that the people of Santa Cruz overwhelming support de-prioritizing marijuana enforcement in our city. We collected more than 6000 signatures, and our poll numbers show strong support from the Santa Cruz electorate. We know that most taxpayers would rather see local police focus on serious and violent crime. And that is exactly what this initiative will do: set sensible priorities.

We need to have a strong turnout from supporters at the upcoming council meeting to ensure the Council fulfills its legal obligations to place this initiative on the ballot. There will be a public comment period during which you can make a short statement in support of the initiative and ask the council to place it on the ballot without delay.

Many of you are already planning to attend this meeting to speak in support of other initiatives being considered for the ballot, including the initiative calling for the impeachment of Pres. Bush and Vice Pres. Cheney. We hope you will consider speaking in support of placing our initiative on the ballot as well.

Where: Santa Cruz City Hall, 809 Center Street, Room 10, Santa Cruz, California 95060
When: Tuesday, July 25, 3:00 p.m.

The Council meeting will be televised live on Comcast channel 25/Charter channel 71.

If you are unable to attend or are uncomfortable speaking in public, you can leave the councilmembers a message at 420-5017. You can also email them at citycouncil [at],lcook [at],
cmathews [at] (cynthia mathews), emily reilly
ereilly [at], tfitzmaurice [at] (tim fitzmaurice), eporter [at] (ed porter), tmadrigal [at] (tony madrigal), (mike rotkin) mrotkin [at], (ryan coonerty) rcoonerty [at]

Here are some suggested talking points:

1. Please place this initiative on the ballot without delay. The only legal options the council has are to place the initiative on the ballot or enact it.

2. As the memoranda by two California attorneys explain, the initiative is well within the city's power. It simply makes marijuana offenses Santa Cruz's lowest law enforcement priority. Oakland passed a similar initiative in 2004.

3. There are so many better ways that we can be using our tax dollars and empowering our law enforcement than wasting money and police resources on minor marijuana offenses.

4. Please do not interfere with citizens' right to vote on this important initiative.

5. This initiative will allow Santa Cruz to join other forward-thinking cities like West Hollywood, Oakland, and Seattle, which have all adopted similar policies.

6. The Bush administration has made marijuana the DEA's number one priority. This initiative gives Santa Cruz the opportunity to set its own priorities.

7. Here in California, our prisons are at nearly twice capacity. It1s crazy to continue locking up nonviolent marijuana offenders. This initiative is a small step in the right direction. Please place it on the ballot without delay.

Please visit for details on the initiative. For more info, please contact Andrea Tischler @ 466-0420 or reservations [at]
Added to the calendar on Tue, Jul 25, 2006 11:20AM
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