Stephanie Smith helps canvas for signatures, for a San Bernardino ballot initiative, with Alexander Navarrette in the Verdemont neighborhood of San Bernardino, CA., Friday, May 18, 2018. (Staff photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, The Sun/SCNG)

By Brian Whitehead | | San Bernardino Sun
Published: June 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Updated: June 14, 2018 at 5:32 pm

A political action committee in Colton led by cannabis activist and real estate developer Stephanie Smith has submitted more than 2,800 signatures from registered voters who favor the regulation and taxation of commercial cannabis in their city, according to the committee’s attorney.

The signatures were delivered to the City Clerk’s Office on Thursday, June 14, for certification, attorney Ben Eilenberg said. City officials confirmed they had been submitted.

If the signatures are certified, the initiative will go on the November ballot.

The committee, Colton Citizens for Good Jobs and Safe Communities, used volunteers and paid petitioners to collect the signatures in less than two weeks, according to a news release.

“Voters in Colton were happy to sign our petition,” Smith said in the release. “Eighty-five percent of Colton voters we contacted wanted fair regulation and taxation of cannabis.”

Smith, self-described as the biggest cannabis landlord in California, is suing Colton on behalf of a Riverside company that owns warehouses popular with the cannabis industry, for what she claims are unconstitutional cannabis rules.

While state law grants cities the authority to regulate or ban cannabis businesses as they choose, Smith contends in lawsuits against Colton, San Bernardino, Hemet and Moreno Valley that certain regulations implemented by city leaders could create monopolistic markets.

Colton prohibits the retail sale of marijuana, but a city ordinance approved in November grants city leaders two cultivation permits to award in this first year. Cultivation facilities – where marijuana is planted, grown and harvested – are the only commercial cannabis businesses permitted in Colton.

Smith, who owns industrial property in the city, argues the law creates “an unfair duopoly.”

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