TRO denied, hearing set for Thursday in Measure W writ

NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 15, 2016 – Nevada County Superior Court Judge Heidelberger denied a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in the case dealing with Nevada County’s Measure W, the outdoor marijuana growing prohibition.

At this morning’s hearing attorney Heather Burke, representing Forrest Hurd, stated that thanks to the court’s previous ruling ordering Nevada County to clean up the impartial analysis she was able to discover another flaw. The ballot measure and the impartial analysis both refer to compliance with federal, state and local law, unlike the current ordinance which mentions only state and local rules. There can be no cultivation under federal law, Burke said.

Assistant County Counsel Amanda Uhrhammer, arguing on behalf of Nevada County, said this was not a new issue. The portion of the impartial analysis regarding federal law has not changed and the same language is present in the ballot measure. “There have been carve outs in federal policies for states that allow medical marijuana use,” Uhrhammer stated and referred to the Rohrabacher amendment which prevents the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment (House Amendment 272) was passed by both houses of Congress as part of the “cromnibus” [Continuing Resolution + Omnibus] spending bill in December 2014.

Judge Heidelberger reminded the parties the matter before the court was only regarding the text of the impartial analysis and any challenges regarding the constitutionality of Measure W can be filed after the election. With the deadline to start printing ballots approaching fast, the court wants to hear from Burke why the issue was not raised in the first writ submitted to the court. The judge stated Nevada County had complied with her previous ruling and inquired as to when Nevada County is beginning to start printing ballots. In a declaration filed by Uhrhammer on behalf of the Elections Office, Assistant Registrar of Voters Sandy Sjoberg states: “The last possible date to have the Official Ballot and content to the Sample Ballot Booklet to our printer is April 1, 2016.” State law requires all Military and Overseas Voters to be mailed no later than 60 days before the election, April 8, 2016.

The judge, based on the information before her denied the TRO set a hearing on the matter for Thursday, March 17th, at 1:00 pm.