City Waiting for Ruling on Latest Marijuana Ballot Challenge

 

 

Arguments against the validity of the initiating ballot questions pertaining to the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana products were presented before Prowers District Judge, Michael Davidson on Monday, January 10th.  His decision is expected to be issued to both parties by February 1st.

In the court hearing, Wanda Rohlman, Plaintiff, was represented by attorney Darla Scranton Specht with the Defendants, Lamar City Clerk, Linda Williams and the City of Lamar represented by City Attorney, Lance Clark and Nicholas Poppe of the law firm retained by the city, Nathan Dumm and Mayer P.C.

The Plaintiff’s basic position argued that because of an insufficient number of valid signatures on the petitions used to initiate questions (2A and 2B) on the November 2nd, 2021 election, the ordinances 1248 and 1249 passed by the Lamar City Council should be considered invalid, negating the legalization of sales and taxation of marijuana products in Lamar.  Following the 2010 election, members of that Lamar City Council passed a moratorium prohibiting the sale of the product, based on the outcome of that vote, which remains in effect.  Rohlman’s attorney also asked for the court to determine the motivations of current council members when they passed the two ordinances following the 2021 election.  Basically, if the petitions from SOCO Rocks, the initiators of the petitions had never been brought before the council, would the council have issued the ordinances to be placed on the ballot?

The attorneys for the city and Williams maintained that the challenge is moot, as the council has the ability to present those or any questions they choose on the ballot on its own volition, regardless of any petition that may come before it.  A city official also stated there was never any malicious intent on the part of the city regarding a shortfall in the number of valid signatures on the petitions, but an unfortunate oversight which had no outcome on the results of the 2021 election.  The state requires that a minimum of 5% of the voters in the last local election be counted on a petition, while under the Charter by which the City of Lamar operates, 15% is required and that did not happen.

Members of the City Council, Mayor Kirk Crespin, City Clerk Linda Williams and Community Development Director, Morgan Becker were called to testify by Darla Scranton Specht, representing the Plaintiff, Wanda Rohlman.

At the end of the trial, Judge Davidson said he would take the testimony and information presented under advisement and his written ruling could be expected by the beginning of February.
By Russ Baldwin

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