PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – Palo Alto voters overwhelmingly defeated Measure C, which would have allowed three medical marijuana dispensaries to open in the city.

Unofficial results posted by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters show 62.1 percent of voters opposed to the proposal, which may have been doomed when the City Council voted unanimously to oppose it.

“What voters have seen is that the original intent of medical marijuana has really been expanded in these pot clubs well beyond the intent that the state voters had adopted several years ago,” said City Councilmember Pat Burt.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Voters in Colorado and Washington on Tuesday voted to allow the recreational use of marijuana. Federal prosecutors have not announced a position on those new laws.

“No matter what the federal government does, it just goes to show that the will of the people want this to be a part of our society,” said Angel Raich, who helped write Proposition 215, the Compassionate Care Act passed on the 1996 ballot.

Raich’s legal battle to use marijuana medicinally resulted in a Supreme Court decision that states can criminalize pot even if it is grown for medicinal purposes.

“If we can regulate alcohol, we can regulate cannabis consumption,” she said.

Councilmember Burt said he suspects outside backing may have made Palo Alto voters suspicious of Measure C’s true intent.

RELATED CONTENT: Complete Election Results

“This was not a grassroots effort in Palo Alto. It was large financial interests from outside the area came in and initiated the measure,” he said, adding that voters were probably swayed by the experience of other cities where pot clubs operated with few regulations.

Before the election, veteran city councilman Larry Klein said he worried that the measure would have made Palo Alto “the marijuana magnet of the Peninsula.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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