Kern County, Ca., 100 miles north of Los Angeles, has become the scene of a civil war of sorts over medical marijuana, reports the New York Times. At stake is a controversial law — passed unanimously in August by the county's all-Republican Board of Supervisors — which would have effectively shut many of the three dozen or so medical marijuana dispensaries in the county.
Now medical marijuana advocates have started a petition drive to challenge it, calling for a referendum on the law, something that could happen as soon as next year. In the meantime, the law is in limbo. It is not the only place in California, the original medical marijuana state, where local regulation is meeting opposition. Laws passed in several other counties and cities have also been the subject of referendum movements, something permitted by California state law. In San Jose, advocates for medical marijuana filed tens of thousands of signatures last Friday to try to force a vote on a new law that would have regulated dispensaries there, a development that Mayor Chuck Reed said could cost his city — facing a $100 million deficit next year — sorely needed finances to mount an election.