Supporters of marijuana legalization want new ballot description
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Supporters of marijuana legalization want new ballot description

PHOENIX — Supporters of legalized marijuana go to court Wednesday to argue that Secretary of State Michele Reagan is lying to voters about what the measure would do.

Attorney Kory Langhofer said there are three misstatements of facts in the description that Reagan is legally required to prepare for Proposition 205. And he will argue to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Blomo that he should order the language rewritten.

But Reagan spokesman Matt Roberts said there’s nothing wrong with the verbiage. And Roberts noted the language has been approved by the Attorney General’s Office.

The measure would allow anyone 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana as well as grow their own plants.

Langhofer pointed out, however, that the description that will go both on ballots and into brochures mailed to voters says the initiative would allow marijuana use by those “over 21.” And that, he contends means those 22 and older, which is inaccurate.

“We don’t share the opinion that it’s not factual,” Roberts responded.

Langhofer has two other problems.

He said Reagan’s description accurately mentions the 15 percent tax on marijuana and marijuana products. But Langhofer said it should have said where the funds would go.

Langhofer also wants Blomo to rule that it’s misleading to say that any other violations of the law that remain will be petty offenses punishable only by a fine. He said even if Proposition 205 is approved, certain things, like having more than 2½ ounces of the drug, would remain felonies.

Blomo does not have much time to make a decision: Roberts said the ballots and the brochures are set to go to the printer Thursday.

The pro-205 forces are not the only ones unhappy with Reagan. Opponents of the initiative filed their own objections Tuesday, asking Blomo to rewrite the measure in a way they contend is more accurate.

That means adding some other points, ranging from protection for employees who smoke marijuana outside the workplace to limits on the number of places that will be able to sell the drug until 2018.

The new legal challenges come as the Arizona Supreme Court considers whether Proposition 205 gets to go to voters at all.

Foes are appealing an earlier ruling by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jo Lynn Gentry refusing to throw the measure off the ballot.

Foes contend the 100-word description of the measure on petitions is misleading because it did not include certain facts that opponents said would be important to voters. Gentry said that, by definition, a summary cannot include every point.

The Supreme Court also needs to rule on a separate challenge to Proposition 206 that if approved in November would hike the state minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

On Twitter: @azcapmedia

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