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November 8, 2016 — California General Election

Mendocino County
Measure AF Initiative Statute - 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


13,772 votes yes (37.93%)

22,534 votes no (62.07%)

100% of precincts reporting (250/250).

36,306 ballots counted.

Regulate Medical Cannabis
— undefined

Shall an Initiative of the People of the County of Mendocino to Regulate Medical Cannabis Cultivation, Processing, Testing, Distribution, Transportation, Delivery and Dispensing be approved?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

County Counsel


  This ballot measure seeks voter approval to amend Mendocino County Code (MCC) as follows:  Chapter 10A.13, Agricultural Nuisances and Customer Disclosures, would add the commercial cultivation of cannabis as an agricultural operation;  Chapters 9.71 and 9.31 relating to Medical Marijuana Cultivation Regulation would be repealed; Chapter 6.22 would be added to create cannabis business permits and regulations; and Chapter 20 would substantially change the current Mendocino County Zoning Ordinance, including the Coastal Zoning Code and the Mendocino Town Zoning Code.  Because this initiative is proposed by the voters, it would not be subject to environmental review or mitigation measures.

  The zoning ordinance would prohibit commercial medical cannabis cultivation within 600 feet of any school or park (currently 1000 feet pursuant to MCC); within 100 feet of any occupied legal residential structure located on a separate parcel without consent; within 30 feet of a parcel under separate ownership (currently 50 feet pursuant to MCC)  without consent.  Dispensaries would not be allowed within 600 feet of any school or park.  Restrictions regarding visibility and fencing, lighting, noise, water, security and plant health are included.

  A qualified patient who is cultivating cannabis in an area less than 100 square feet or a primary caregiver cultivating cannabis in an area less than 500 square feet would be exempt from the regulations in this measure as long as the cultivation is for their own personal use, or the personal use of their patients.

  All commercial medical cannabis activity, including cultivating, manufacturing of edible and topical cannabis, laboratory testing, dispensing, distributing, and transporting, would be subject to a permit.

  Dispensaries could not employ anyone under 21, could not admit anyone under 18 years unless they are a qualified patient or in the presence of their parent or guardian, and the hours of operation would be limited.  Cannabis could only be consumed on-site by vaporization or oral consumption.

  This measure would require the Department of Planning and Building to issue permits for manufacturing, distribution and transportation, and the Health and Human Services Agency to issue permits for medical cannabis testing facilities; both would have to develop specific regulations as stated.  The permit applications would be $300.00 with the ability to increase the amount if additional time or expense is incurred in administering the permit.

















 It would add a business tax for medical cannabis businesses of 2.5% of the gross receipts and for non-medical cannabis businesses of 5% of gross receipts.

  It would establish an independent oversight commission to develop an annual Economic Impact Report.

  This measure could be amended by the Board of Supervisors after June 1, 2018; however, any increase in the tax would need voter approval.

  This Initiative was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters.

  This initiative must be adopted by a majority of the voters.


  A YES vote will be a vote in favor of adoption of the proposed initiative.


  A NO vote will be a vote against the adoption of the proposed initiative.


The above statement is an impartial analysis of the Ordinance or Measure AF.  If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure, please call the elections official’s office at (707) 234-6819 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.





































Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

In 2015, the State of California passed historic legislation to regulate commercial cannabis.  The cannabis industry is an important part of our economy and has had significant impacts on our watersheds and communities.

Regulation means that we can control the future of the industry, protect small local farms, keep corporate interests out, reduce black market activity, end trespass grows, and safeguard our environment.

Measure AF provides the most direct and cost-effective path to regulating our local medical cannabis industry while making Mendocino County’s rules consistent with state law.

Community stakeholders are committed to working with the Board of Supervisors and County Staff to continually improve our local legislation to ensure that all of our neighbors benefit from a safe, regulated cannabis industry.

We encourage voters to say ‘yes’ to all three countywide cannabis tax measures on the ballot:  Measures AF, AI, and AJ.  Cannabis regulation and taxation will make Mendocino County safer and benefit our entire community, helping to fund enhanced mental health services, repair of county roads, and expand fire and emergency medical services.


s/Tom Rodrigues



Registered Voter

Arguments AGAINST

Measure AF would allow commercial marijuana to infringe the health and safety of our community.

It would legalized marijuana growing in every residential district, with grows as large as 1 acre of plants within 30 feet of a neighbor’s property and within 100 feet of a neighbor’s house.  In mobile home parks, there would be no setbacks at all.

Measure AF would allow marijuana grows and dispensaries 400 feet closer to our schools and parks, compared to existing regulations.  The separation would be only 30 feet from churches, youth-oriented facilities, and residential treatment facilities.

Measure AF would prevent neighbors from complaining about the odor of marijuana plants because marijuana growers would be protected by the “right to farm.”

Marijuana would no longer be regulated by the sheriff, but instead by civil procedure that would be so slow and weak that it would be the same as no regulation at all.  Penalties for violations are minimal and ineffective.

Measure AF would make the dangerous use of butane to make hash oil an authorized activity in all industrial zoning, even though it has caused many fires.

Measure AF would tell the world that if you want to make a fast buck growing lots of marijuana, come to Mendocino County.

The dangerous measure was written by the marijuana growers themselves.  It radically amends all zoning codes.  Special-interest groups like the growers shouldn’t be able to write their own laws.  Marijuana regulations should be written by the Board of Supervisors with consideration for all, not by a special interest group pursuing their own agenda.

Vote NO on Measure AF.


s/Jim Eddie



s/Daryl Schoeppner

Fire Chief


s/Jeanette Pedersen

Retired Cal Fire Mendocino

Unit Resource Manager


s/Mike Sweeney

Recycling Manager

Replies to Arguments FOR

Don’t be fooled!

Vote “NO” on Measure AF – the marijuana ordinance bought and paid for by marijuana growers.

Proponents admit marijuana “has had significant impacts on our watersheds and communities.”  Yet Measure AF dramatically increases the amount of marijuana that can be grown.

Measure AF encroaches on innocent neighbors.  It allows up to an acre of marijuana grown 30 feet from the property line – only 100 feet from a neighboring house – and in plain view of the public right-of-way.

Measure AF reduces setbacks from schools and parks by 400 feet and eliminates setbacks from youth-oriented facilities, churches, and residential treatment centers.

Measure AF eliminates setbacks from neighboring mobile homes in a mobile home park.

Growers and dispensaries can ignore all setbacks until July 1, 2017!  Under Measure AF, enforcement would be so weak and slow that it would be the same as no rules at all.

Measure AF uses “right to farm” to shield growers on odor, noise, and chemical use.

Measure AF was written by a marijuana defense attorney paid by the growers.  Marijuana regulations should be written by elected officials with public input, public hearings and environmental review—not solely by the people being regulated.

Measure AF is bad public policy, bad for the environment, and bad for public safety.

Tell growers to go through the public process like everyone else – not write their own rules to bypass environmental and community review.

Vote “NO” on Measure AF.  Visit


s/Andres Avila

Fire Chief


s/Ellen Drell

Environmental Advocate


s/Camille Schraeder

Children’s Advocate


s/John McCowen

Elected Public Official


s/Thomas F. Johnson




Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Unregulated cannabis cultivation has been present in our community for decades, negatively impacting public health and safety.  Measure AF is a step in the right direction to regulate the industry and work on local solutions.

Vote Yes on Measure AF to make Mendocino County consistent with state law which prohibits cultivation and dispensaries within 600 feet of a school; prohibits illegal diversion of water; and provides for the safety & protection of our community.

AF strengthens enforcement, and provides the Sheriff with the resources to focus on hard drugs, illegal grows, and violent crime while state enforcement agents protect against environmental impacts.

Today, reckless manufacturing takes place in our neighborhoods and in protected watersheds where unregulated operations create a fire & safety risk.  Measure AF restricts these activities with new, rigorous statewide safety standards.

Folks looking to make a quick buck will have to look outside of our county.  Measure AF only allows permits to be issued to Mendocino County residents that have lived here for at least two years.  AF creates a clear regulatory program for local farms and businesses who support compliance, pay taxes, create good jobs, and protect the environment.  Measure AF empowers the Board of Supervisors to make changes to the permitting program to continue to meet the needs of all county residents.

Mendocino County needs solutions.  Regulation will protect our neighborhoods and natural resources while creating a pathway to compliance for family farms and local businesses.  Vote Yes on Measure AF to protect our community.


s/Tom Rodrigues

Artist / Winery Owner


s/Vergilia P. Dakin

Registered Voter


s/Jude Thilman

Health Educator


s/Scott Willoughby

Grape Grower


s/Ed A. Ornbaun


Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

The full text of the measure can be emailed or mailed to you. To receive the full text of the ballot measure, at no cost to you, please contact:  Mendocino County Elections

 Call (707) 234-6819     Email:


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