CA Cannabis Coalition v. City of UplandAnnotate this Case
Petitioner California Cannabis Coalition, a California nonprofit corporation, and Nicole De La Rosa and James Velez (collectively, CCC), appealed after a trial court denied CCC’s petition for writ of mandate. CCC’s writ petition requested the trial court to order the City of Upland and city clerk, Stephanie Mendenhall, (collectively, the City) to hold a special election on CCC’s medical marijuana dispensary initiative (Initiative). CCC argued the trial court erred in ruling CCC’s Initiative could not be voted on during a special election under Article XIIIC (Article 13C), section 2 of the California Constitution, because the Initiative imposes a charge on medical marijuana dispensaries, which in effect was a general tax rather than a regulatory fee. CCC objected to the trial court requiring the Initiative to be placed on the next general election ballot, instead of presenting it to the voters earlier by holding a special election. CCC further argued the City council prematurely determined, before the election on the Initiative, that the Initiative constituted a tax rather than a regulatory fee. CCC sought a writ of mandate to compel the City to hold a special election on the Initiative. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded Article 13C, section 2 did not apply to CCC’s Initiative, and reversed the trial court: "Article 13C, sections 1 and 2 refer to taxes imposed by local government. Article 13C is silent as to taxes imposed by initiative. Article 2, sections 8 and 11 of the California Constitution and Elections Code sections 1405 and 9214, on the other hand, provide the people with initiative powers and state procedures for holding elections on initiatives."