Friday, May 23, 2008

No place for ‘pot’ battle

Logic and legal precedent suggest that some court, somewhere, some time will rule that promoters of a pro-marijuana initiative in Hailey have no right to skirt state and federal laws with a local vote.

How long that will take depends on how long pot proponents want to persist in this comedy, how deep their pockets are and how long Hailey voters allow them to spend the public's tax dollars on repeated elections or legal defenses.

Hailey voters can begin to put an end to this farce on May 27 by voting "no" on four ballot measures that purport to create a marijuana haven in Hailey.

Voters will be asked if the city should legalize the medical use of marijuana and the industrial use of hemp, make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for the Hailey Police Department, and tax and regulate sales and use of marijuana within the city.

Hailey has been spending scarce taxpayer funds on the court tussle to restore the city's right to enforce laws and to avoid costly repeated elections.

The issue of pot legalization is a statewide matter. Marijuana advocates can no more claim that Hailey can be exempted from Idaho and U.S. laws than anti-tax promoters can claim Hailey residents are exempt from paying state income tax.

Obviously, backers of the marijuana initiative fear the consequences of a statewide vote in conservative Idaho. Defeat would be certain.

Hailey isn't the place for this battle. Its pinched budget should not be forced to withstand it. Voters should help stop the spread of red ink by putting this issue to rest.

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