(UPDATE) Nevada County marijuana: Judge rules Measure W will appear on June ballot
April 4, 2016
Measure W will appear on the June 7 ballot with no changes, a Nevada County judge ruled Thursday.
Additionally, a new impartial analysis for that ballot initiative will remain unchanged.
Superior Court Judge Candace S. Heidelberger denied Forrest Hurd's writ, which asked the judge to stop the proposed marijuana outdoor grow ban from reaching voters. She also ruled the revised impartial analysis, which describes the proposed ban, would stay unchanged. Voters now will receive the impartial analysis in the mail and get to vote on Measure W, based on the judge's ruling.
"We're very pleased with the court's ruling and her recognition that the impartial analysis is true," said Alison Barratt-Green, county counsel. "We're certainly pleased that the voters will have a chance to vote on this in June."
Hurd, the father of an 8-year-old son with intractable epilepsy, challenged Measure W, arguing that he can't get his son medicinal marijuana with an outdoor grow ban and 12-plant indoor limitation in place.
Heidelberger's Thursday ruling sidestepped Hurd's biggest request, that the measure not reach voters. Instead, she ruled that the revised impartial analysis needs no further revision, and is not misleading or confusing.
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"Whether or not a complete outdoor ban is permissible under the law is not before this court," the judge states. "Any challenges to the constitutionality of the measure or the ordinance may be brought after the election."
Contacted after the ruling, Hurd said he would consider his options after the June vote.
"It's important for people to realize that the damage has been done," Hurd said. "We're in serious danger. My son's life is really at risk. Without a doubt, I will continue to do whatever I can."
Hurd's challenge to Measure W stems from the Board of Supervisors' Jan. 12 vote implementing an immediate outdoor grow ban and limiting indoor grows to 12 plants. On that day, supervisors also put Measure W on the June 7 ballot.
A "Yes" vote would augment the existing supervisor-imposed ban with one implemented by voters. A "No" vote would reject Measure W, though the supervisor ban would still be in place.
Supervisors have said they'd repeal their ban in that case.
Hurd first argued that the impartial analysis for the measure was confusing. Heidelberger agreed and prohibited the county from printing ballots until the county corrected its analysis.
The county quickly revised that analysis, leading Hurd to again challenge it. In his second attempt, he argued that Measure W requires compliance with federal law, which forbids any medical marijuana cultivation. That would make grows impossible, regardless of the measure's intent.
"The wording of the statute is what we need to look at here," argued Heather Burke, Hurd's attorney, at a Thursday hearing.
The judge ruled that issue wasn't before her for consideration.
Amanda Uhrhammer, deputy county counsel, said Hurd's arguments should instead be made after the election.
"The impartial analysis states what Measure W does," she said. "That should be the end of it."
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.