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Marijuana Initiative Makes Hailey Ballot


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Hailey's electorate will vote in November on proposed initiatives to legalize or decriminalize marijuana within the city limits.

After legal battles with Hailey for more than three years, pro-marijuana advocate Ryan Davidson, chairman of Liberty Lobby of Idaho, has successfully complied with city requirements to put his initiatives before the voters.

Davidson was notified on Friday, the deadline for completion of initiative requirements, that his pro-marijuana initiatives will be on the ballot for the city's Nov. 6 general election.

"The only way this is going to go away is to let the people vote on it," said Hailey City Council President Rick Davis at Monday's council meeting.

Hailey's electorate will vote on four different initiatives to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. The first, and the one Davidson said is most important, would mandate the city to regulate and tax marijuana sales and use and would require the city to advocate and lobby for reform of marijuana laws statewide or nationally.

If approved by the voters, adoption of the law could be delayed for up to one year. The initiative requires the establishment of a community oversight committee to work out the details of legalization and gives the committee one year to get the job done. The four-member committee would be composed of representatives appointed by the City Council, the mayor, the Hailey Police Department and Liberty Lobby of Idaho.

"Nothing's going to be immediately legalized if the initiative passes," Davidson said Monday.

A second initiative before the voters would legalize medical use of marijuana. Another initiative would make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for the Hailey Police Department. The fourth initiative would allow for industrial use of hemp, a marijuana by-product.

The City Council discussed the initiatives briefly at its Monday meeting when City Clerk Heather Dawson formally notified the council that the initiatives have qualified for the ballot.

Council members seemed more amused than alarmed by the initiatives and mused that Hailey may receive national news media attention because of the issue.

The only action taken by the council was a vote to not summarize wording in the initiatives and to have them printed as written on the ballot.

"The voters have to vote on this. The Supreme Court was very clear," said Hailey City Attorney Ned Williamson.

He was referring to an Idaho Supreme Court decision in September 2006 when the high court ruled in Davidson's favor in a lawsuit against the city of Sun Valley. In that ruling the court determined that municipalities do not have the right to determine the constitutionality of proposed initiatives.

Davidson won a second major court victory earlier this month when U.S. District Court in Boise issued a preliminary injunction that bars the city of Hailey from requiring that initiators of initiatives be residents of the city.

Davidson's legal battles with cities in the Wood River Valley began in August 2004 when he filed petitions for initiative elections with the cities of Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley.

Davidson said Monday that he will continue to push for marijuana legalization elections in Ketchum and Sun Valley and hopes to have the issues on ballots for next May's primary elections.

Davidson acknowledged that if voters approve his pro-marijuana initiatives, further litigation might ensue because of conflicts with state and federal law.

News Moderator: CoZmO - 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Idaho Mountain Express (Ketchum, ID)
Author: Terry Smith
Contact: Idaho Mountain Express
Copyright: 2007 Express Publishing Inc.
Website: Marijuana initiative makes Hailey ballot
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