Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Sun Valley counters marijuana law appeal

City proceeding with lawsuit to quell legalization initiative

Express Staff Writer

The city of Sun Valley is taking measures to oppose an initiative to have citizens vote on whether marijuana should be legalized.

Sun Valley City Attorney Rand Peebles last week said he is carrying forward a city lawsuit against The Liberty Lobby of Idaho, filed in September in 5th District Court in Hailey.

The city complaint against The Liberty Lobby contends that the organization?s proposal to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana is ?unconstitutional? and to hold an election on the matter ?would be in excess of the city?s jurisdiction.?

The Bellevue-based Liberty Lobby is seeking to have the cities of Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey adopt ordinances that would effectively legalize the sale and use of marijuana in the three cities.

Ryan Davidson, chairman of the group, on Aug. 25 filed with the three cities an initiative petition that demands the respective city councils put before voters a new ordinance that would, among other things, direct the cities to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana for use by adults.

The cities have so far declined to put the Liberty Lobby proposal before voters.

The Liberty Lobby in September filed a legal appeal of the city?s decision to not honor its petition, which was filed with the signatures of 22 Sun Valley residents.

The city?s Sept. 21 complaint essentially seeks a judgment from the court that the city should not be bound to administratively approve The Liberty Lobby?s petition and asks the court to award the city the costs of defending the case.

Peebles said he does not believe the city should be required to be involved in The Liberty Lobby?s efforts to legalize marijuana.

?A city does not have the right to regulate marijuana laws in the state of Idaho,? he said.

The 5th District Court has decided to consolidate the two competing legal actions by the city and The Liberty Lobby.

Peebles said a final decision from the court ?could take a while.?

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