Friday, February 15, 2013

Blaine GOP upholds pro-pot stance

Resolution stands after tight 10-9 vote

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County GOP narrowly upheld a resolution to support legalization of marijuana in Idaho in a vote Tuesday night, despite efforts by some Republicans to overturn it.

The resolution, which has no legal effect, was introduced by precinct Committeeman Mike Connor last month, and was approved with only two votes opposed during the local party’s monthly meeting at the Senior Connection in Hailey.

The February meeting Tuesday, also at the Senior Connection, was a full house, and Connor characterized the decision as “interesting.”

“A lot of people came and voiced their opinions,” he said.

The local party’s precinct committeemen and several other party officers were eligible to vote on a motion to repeal the resolution. Ten people voted in favor of upholding it and nine voted against.

Connor said he stood by his resolution, voting against repeal.

“It’s one of the worst things that is going on in this country,” he said. “It’s causing so much damage. The time is coming for this prohibition to end, and we might as well be on the right side.”

Connor argued that if marijuana were legalized and regulated, crime rates would drop substantially. 

Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey said he isn’t sure that would be the case. For example, Ramsey said, sheriffs he has spoken to in Ukiah, Calif.,—where medical marijuana is legal—said they saw an uptick in home invasions after legalization. Because people with medical-marijuana cards are allowed to keep certain numbers of plants in their homes, other people were breaking in, stealing the marijuana and often any money that was in the house, Ramsey said.

Ramsey said legalization would also not stop growers from setting up large growing operations on public land.

Precinct Committeeman Steve Poindexter, who voted against the original resolution, could not be reached for comment as of press time—though his recorded voicemail message stated he had “no comment” to any reporters inquiring about the issue.

Precinct Committeeman Dale Ewersen, who also did not support the resolution, said he voted against it again because legalizing marijuana would encourage use, especially in young people.

The resolution will be brought before the state committee this summer for consideration.

Kate Wutz:

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