By The Associated Press
HAILEY - The City Council says it will wait until at least early January before deciding how to proceed with three pro-marijuana initiatives that were narrowly approved by voters in November.
The initiatives would legalize industrial hemp, decriminalize medicinal marijuana, and make enforcing pot laws the city's lowest police priority. A fourth initiative, to legalize pot outright, fell just short of approval in the Nov. 6 election.
The Idaho attorney general delivered a Dec. 20 report to the resort city outlining concerns it has over the initiatives, namely that state law criminalizing pot in all forms can't be overridden by a municipal ordinance.
In addition, the report says a provision of the initiative requiring city officials to lobby for easing state pot laws could violate their First Amendment rights.
The passage of that provision created concerns for city officials, most notably Councilwoman Carol Brown. Brown recused herself from a Nov. 26 council meeting on the issue since she is an employee of the U.S. Forest Service and was told to withdraw herself from the matter. Questions were even raised of whether Brown would have to step down from the council.
"The bottom line is that they conclude that major issues of the provisions are illegal," said Hailey City Attorney Ned Williamson, adding the situation is so unique, the council should take its time in figuring out how to proceed.
Williamson said the city may be limited to three choices: Either start litigation over the initiatives, repeal them or amend them.