Amended writ against Measure W filed

NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 14, 2016 – An amendment to the writ filed by attorney Heather Burke on behalf of  Forrest Hurd, dealing with the revised impartial analysis of Measure W, is making its way through the court system. The original Application for Preliminary Injunction was granted by Nevada County Superior Court Judge Heidelberger last Tuesday and resulted in a revised impartial analysis submitted for public inspection by Nevada County.

Impartial analysis v 2.0 still flawed?

The amended version of the writ contends that v 2.0 of the impartial analysis still has two flaws:

  • Unlike the current ordinance, Measure W requires compliance with federal, state and local law.
  • It is still unclear what a No vote will mean, besides leaving the existing ordinance in place.

…”the U.S. Department of Justice will relax their enforcement where certain federal priorities are not present, based on a policy memorandum issued by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole on August 29, 2013. However, the memorandum is not a statement of law, but of policy,” the amended writ states.

Regarding the confusion of what a No vote would result in, the writ states: “As such, respondent’s (Nevada County) actions have confused the political arena in this regard to such a degree that the ballot title and summary can never fully inform a reasonable electorate without more information as to what a “No” vote commits respondents to… Additionally, the widespread confusion about what a “No” vote means is highly prejudicial as a confused electorate may vote on the only choice that is concrete, to wit: a “Yes” vote.”

Measure W is intended to ask voters to approve a total ban on outdoor marijuana cultivation and allow 12 plants, grown indoors in permitted structures, for medicinal uses by patients or caregivers. The ballot measure is presented to the voters by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors who amended a 2012 urgency ordinance regarding marijuana cultivation at their January 12, 2016 meeting, banning all outdoor cultivation of marijuana. Measure W makes some language changes and  adds  provisions to the urgency ordinance. Should Measure W fail, the BOS has passed a “morally binding” resolution to lift the outdoor ban and implement new, as of yet unknown, regulations. The resolution came after YubaNet sought clarification on the matter from County Counsel, asking if voters turn Measure W down by a majority No vote, would it negate the updated urgency ordinance and outdoor growing would be allowed again? “The ballot measure has no direct impact on the existing ordinance unless it’s adopted by the voters. If the ballot measure is adopted, it will supersede certain sections of the existing ordinance. If it is not adopted, then the current ordinance would remain in place,” County  Counsel Alison Barratt-Green wrote in her response.

The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) filed with the amended  writ will be heard in court on Tuesday 8:30 am. The TRO is designed to prevent Nevada County from printing any ballots until the matter is resolved by the court, either by granting or denying the preliminary injunction. It should be noted that the Nevada County Elections Office has no intention of printing any ballots until all candidate nomination periods have closed. The impartial analysis of ballot measures is not printed on the June Primary ballot, only in the Nevada County Voter Information Pamphlet.