Palo Alto has a longstanding ban on marijuana dispensaries, but that may be coming to an end.

Supporters of medical marijuana dispensaries turned in a petition to the city clerk with 500 more signatures than required to qualify an initiative for the 2012 ballot that would require the city to permit as many as three dispensaries to operate. If it were approved, it would overturn an ordinance dating back to 1996.

The council will decide whether to simply adopt the initiative as a city ordinance or put it before the voters. However, the cost of holding the election to decide the issue could cost $92,000.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

The Palo Alto City Council faces a decision on Monday: Whether to essentially reverse a long-standing ban on pot clubs, or put the matter in the hands of voters.

The issue is being forced by an initiative petition that would allow as many as three medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city. Organizers collected 4,859 signatures, roughly 500 than needed to qualify a measure for the Nov. 6, 2012, general election, according to a report released Wednesday by the City Clerk’s Office.

Read the full article here.