The ugliest, and weirdest political battle in Utah history just got uglier and weirder.
Monday night, at approximately 11 p.m., a group from Drug Safe Utah, an organization working to thwart medical marijuana in Utah, dropped off dozens of name removal forms at the home of Davis County Clerk Curtis Koch.
The group had asked the clerk to allow them to turn the forms into his office after closing time at 5 p.m., but he refused, so, it appears, 10-20 members of the group met at his office regardless, intent on dropping off the forms.
When Drug Safe Utah members where confronted in the parking lot by medical marijuana proponents led by DJ Shanze of the Utah Patient’s Coalition, words were exchanged and Drug Safe Utah members dispersed and drove directly to Koch’s home.
The Utah Patient’s Coalition and TRUCE Utah have undertaken a monumental task, gathering 144,000 signatures from Utah residents so voters could have a chance to vote on a medical marijuana proposal in November.
But in recent weeks, Drug Safe Utah, has begun an aggressive campaign to take names OFF the petition. The efforts have lead to accusations from both sides that the other was operating unethically possibly illegally.
On Friday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints weighed in on the controversy, contracting their law firm Kirton McConkie to assemble a legal memo on the petition effort. The memo suggests their are many potential legal pitfalls if the petition passes in November.
The ugly debate has fostered intense mistrust between to the two sides, and is spilling into the sphere of public officials. Koch, the Davis County Clerk was seen leaving the clerks off just before midnight by medical marijuana proponents.
They accused him of working out a clandestine deal to meet with Drug Safe Utah after hours to take the name removal forms after the office had closed.
Koch, who is also the county auditor, told the group he was working on a county audit, and was simply working late.
It is unclear why Drug Safe Utah went to such efforts to get the forms in the hands of the clerk, particularly after he had already refused to accept them.
The group could be laying the groundwork for a legal challenge in the weeks to come, and are hoping to have their removal forms counted after the fact.