Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Great fanfare greets the announcement of state ballot drives. But most efforts die on the signature-gathering vine. In the past month alone, 10 would-be initiatives have failed or been withdrawn, including several by marijuana advocates.

According to Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office, these measures failed in December to qualify for statewide ballots in 2016:

Use of Reasonable Force (initiative statute) — James T. Lawrence didn’t get the 365,880 signatures needed for a vote on whether to suspend use-of-force rules by law enforcement for 180 days. It would have required the governor to “appoint 11-person panel to review suspended laws and recommend changes to prevent violence committed by law enforcement officers against people of color.”

Display of State Flag (initiative statute) — Louis J. Marinelli didn’t get the needed 365,880 signatures for vote on requiring the state flag to be displayed in “the position of first honor when both the United States flag and the California state flag are displayed at schools, universities, colleges, courtrooms, government buildings and state parks, and at events held in coliseums, stadiums, bowls, other open air sites, and race tracks.”

Political Contributions. Out-of-State Donors (initiative statute) — Marinelli failed to get 365,880 signatures for vote on measure barring candidates, committees and certain political mailer organizations from receiving funds from non-California residents.

President of California (initiative constitutional amendment) — Marinelli failed to get 585,407 signatures in his effort to replace the word Governor with the word President in the state Constitution.

Sexual Orientation Prejudice (initiative statute) — Charlotte Laws failed to get 585,407 signatures for a ballot measure that “provides any person who proposes a ballot measure that advocates the killing of gays and/or lesbians must attend sensitivity training and donate money to a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization.”

Legislature Expansion. Legislative Process (initiative constitutional amendment) — John H. Cox failed to get 585,407 signatures for a measure that would increase seats in the Legislature almost 100-fold by dividing current Assembly and Senate districts into neighborhood districts “such that each Assemblymember represents about 5,000 persons and each Senator represents about 10,000 persons.”

Shellfish Ban (initiative statute) — Joe Decker failed to get 365,880 signatures for a measure making the sale or consumption of shellfish a serious felony punishable by a $666,000 fine per occurrence or a “prison sentence of up to six years, six months and six days.”

Marijuana Legalization (initiative statute) — Chad M. and Marinda D. Hanes withdrew their measure aiming to legalize marijuana possession, production, cultivation, transportation, manufacture, processing and sale.

Marijuana Legalization (initiative statute) — The Haneses withdrew a similar proposal, which also would set “procedures for release or resentencing of persons convicted of marijuana offenses.”

Medical Marijuana (initiative constitutional amendment) — Craig Beresh, Jeffrey Byrne, Lanette Davies, Richard Fenton, Kandice Hawes, Donna Lambert, Ronald Mullins, Eric Salerno, Deborah Tharp, Kathie Thelen and Randall Welty failed to get 585,407 signatures for an effort to bar state and local laws from restricting patients’ ability to obtain, cultivate or transport medical marijuana, including concentrated cannabis, “in any way that does not apply equally to other plants.”

Four measures have been approved for 2016 ballots, however, including a referendum to overturn bans on single-use plastic bags.