Features & Columns

Numbers Game

weed wars DISCOVERY STAR: Cannabis activist Steve DeAngelo appears in a new reality show about his dispensary.

LAST TUESDAY MORNING, San Jose City Clerk Dennis Hawkins got a call from the County Registrar of Voters telling him the referendum petition against San Jose's medical cannabis regulations had enough valid signatures. Hawkins passed the big news on to the mayor, city council and Citizens Coalition for Patient Care chairman James Anthony. A few hours later, Hawkins called them all back, telling them there had been a mistake; a sample of the petition signatures didn't pass the legal threshold to certify it, and the RoV would now have to verify all 47,000 signatures.

So, what happened?

Hawkins tells Metro that Tuesday morning the RoV called saying that after completing a measure of sample they found the petition sufficient and were planning to issue a certificate of sufficiency. Hawkins notified both city officials and Anthony, whose organization collected the signatures calling for a referendum against the city's plan to limit the number cannabis dispensaries to 10, then his office got to work drafting a memo for the city council's Nov. 29 agenda.

He called the RoV, asking for scanned copies of documents. When he got those late Tuesday late afternoon, he noticed some of the data was missing, and when his office began crunching the numbers, they found the sample wasn't enough to certify the petition.

The RoV declined to comment and referred the matter to Hawkins' office. The RoV has until Jan. 24, 60 days after the signatures were submitted, to complete its count.

"There is a process, and we just need to make sure that we have all the facts before we move it forward," says Hawkins. "It's unfortunate that there was misunderstanding or miscommunication. But we value our working relationship with the registrar, and we'll continue to work with them throughout the process."

Meanwhile, city leaders and cannabis activists are staying tight-lipped about their ongoing negotiation meetings hoping to stave off both the regulations that pot providers say are too strict and a special election that city leaders say is too expensive.

"We're having positive discussions of issues of serious concerns," says Anthony.

Weed Wars

Bay Area cannabis activist Steve DeAngelo makes his TV debut on Dec. 1. The Discovery Channel cameras followed DeAngelo around to film the docudrama Weed Wars, about the struggles to keep open Oakland's Harborside Health Center.

"Viewers will have the opportunity to really step inside our facility and see how we interact with patients and how we handle the medicine," says DeAngelo. Harborside has a sister site in San Jose, and DeAngelo often addresses the City Council about cannabis issues. He hopes the show will convince viewers see that cannabis "is a good plant and not an evil plant."

"So it was pretty marvelous for me to have an opportunity after 40 years as an activist to have such a great platform to tell my story on," DeAngelo says.