Marijuana initiative gets Idaho high court's
Sun Valley - City officials had rejected
the petition, which proposes that residents
can grow, sell and use pot
The Origonian, October 01, 2006
-- An initiative proposal that would allow
residents to grow, sell and use marijuana within
Sun Valley's city limits can move forward, the
Idaho Supreme Court has ruled.
Two years ago,
Ryan Davidson turned in a sample petition on the
marijuana initiative to Sun Valley city
officials so it could be checked for the format
required by the city's rules.
But instead of
simply telling Davidson whether the paper, the
number of signatures per page and other
technical details of the petition were correct,
the city rejected the petition altogether,
saying it was contrary to state law and
therefore outside the scope of the city's
All five Idaho
Supreme Court justices have ordered the city to
consider the petition. Whether or not the
initiative turns out to be legal, the justices
ruled, is a matter for the courts to consider,
if and when the initiative passes.
protests that if the clerk cannot halt
unconstitutional initiatives any group could
submit petitions for any number of outlandish
causes," Justice Roger S. Burdick wrote on
behalf of three justices last week. "While it is
true that many such initiatives could be
proposed, sorting through the substance of
proposed initiatives to separate the wheat from
the chaff is not the role of the city clerk."
voting public and the courts hold the power to
check initiatives, and city councils can repeal
or amend ordinances passed by direct
legislation, Burdick wrote.
the regulated growth, sale and use of marijuana
in Sun Valley, Davidson's initiative would have
directed the city to push state leaders for a
change in Idaho's marijuana laws. Finally, it
would have directed local law enforcement
officers to make enforcing marijuana violations
by adults their lowest priority.
The Supreme Court
majority declined to rule on whether the
initiative, if passed, would be legal.
Gerald Schroeder, while agreeing that the city
should consider the initiative, wrote a separate
opinion so that he could specifically say that
if the initiative passed, portions of it would
violate state law and be invalid.
"Time, effort and
money will have been wasted, except to the
extent that lawmakers will have the opinion of a
small segment of the state's qualified
electors," Schroeder wrote. "Nonetheless, the
decision to allow the process to play itself out
without judicial intervention is appropriate."