Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pot funding case goes to trial

Marijuana advocate suing national pro-pot group


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

A jury trial is set to begin today in Blaine County 5th District Court in the case of a marijuana advocate who is suing a national pro-marijuana organization.

Ryan Davidson, a former Bellevue man who has campaigned for marijuana law reform in the Wood River Valley, is alleging breach of contract in his lawsuit against the Washington, D.C.,-based Marijuana Policy Project. Davidson claims the organization reneged on a $60,000 grant he used in 2004 to fund his pro-marijuana work in Blaine County.

Davidson is seeking a $44,000 grant balance plus interest, attorney fees and unspecified "incidental and consequential damages."

Davidson claims the Marijuana Policy Project withdrew the grant after Davidson initially failed to get marijuana reform initiatives on the ballots in Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley. He was later successful in a lawsuit against the city of Sun Valley when in 2006 the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the city did not have the authority to determine the constitutionality of proposed initiatives.

Davidson did not later pursue initiative elections in Sun Valley or Ketchum but was successful in 2007 and 2008 in having marijuana reform initiatives approved by the electorate of Hailey. Those initiatives, however, were mainly declared illegal in 2009 by Judge Robert J. Elgee.

Judge John K. Butler will preside over Davidson's case against the Marijuana Policy Project. The trial is expected to last three days.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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