Redondo Beach Police investigate cannabis signature gathering

Scenes like this may be longer after the city council vote Tuesday night. Redondo Beach Police Officer Keith Turner supervises the boarding up of Redondo’s Finest, an illegal cannabis dispensary, last March. Photo by Kevin Cody

A Redondo Beach Police investigation has been opened regarding signature gatherers for a local cannabis initiative. The action follows statements made Nov. 2 by city council members during an appearance by a representative of the initiative effort.

Councilmen Christian Horvath and Todd Loewenstein told of signature gatherers at their doors who misrepresented the proposal, saying it raised money for police, fire and/or schools.

Horvath later created a form — based on information from the city clerk’s office — where people who signed the initiative can ask to have their names removed.

George M. Yin, attorney for initiative proponent Samuel Nicosia, sent a letter Nov. 9 to City Manager Mike Witzanksy, City Attorney Michael Webb and City Clerk Eleanor Manzano.

He asked to “amicably resolve” a “possible misunderstanding.”

Yin referenced signature gatherers allegedly stopped by Redondo Beach Police who asked them to cease their activity because it was illegal, and/or they did not possess a permit. Yin stated that this is not commercial solicitation but an initiative petition protected by the California Constitution and state law.

GroundWorks Campaigns, based in Los Angeles, is gathering the signatures. The contract in Redondo Beach totals $174,576, paid for by the Economic Resource and Development Coalition of Southern California (ERDCSC). 

Its goal is 5,500 signatures. 

Damian Martin, an attorney also representing Nicosia, responded to the council members’ allegations with  a statement, which said in part: “EDRCSC – Redondo Beach took those allegations very seriously, and conducted its own internal investigation with GroundWorks Campaigns…. GroundWorks Campaigns categorically denied all of the allegations, and, in fact, took the position that its signature gatherers were the ones being harassed.”

The initiative, slated for the November 2022 ballot, would require the city to license at least three retailers, and prohibit the city from increasing sales taxes on marijuana outlets. ER



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