After a second round in court, the decision is final – Proposition 205 will appear on the ballots in Arizona this November, whether opponents like it or not. During the first go around in courts the judge had multiple reasons for dismissing the case against Prop 205, including a measure that he believed disallowed citizens from challenging the wording of an initiative, as well as a lack of evidence that the opposition was correct in their opinion that Proposition 205’s wording was misleading, to say the least. The group who sued, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, decided to take it up to the Supreme Court, who upheld the original decision to dismiss the case.
While the Supreme Court judge said he did not agree with the original judge’s interpretation of the measure on challenging initiatives, he did agree that the initiative was written to substantially comply with the law’s requirements. In the end, that meant that the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol would be able to rest easy knowing that their only challenge now is to raise awareness until November. The only complaint that they may have to deal with in courts later, is the fact that they plan to use money from the medical marijuana program to get things running within the recreational industry – the Supreme Court judge did say that could be challenged after the election, should the initiative pass.
“Voters will get the opportunity that they requested — more than 258,000 people signed a petition to put this before the voters,” Marson said. “The Supreme Court agreed voters should have the final say on whether adults should have the right to legally purchase marijuana.”
Along with the Supreme Court ruling on challenges to the initiative, the courts also made a decision regarding the group’s complaints against the description of their initiative in the voters informative pamphlet. They were hoping that they would be able to get a few things changed, including a line that read adults “over 21”, which they feel should read “21 and over” to avoid confusion – and they also wanted to see the description include the fact that the 15% tax would mostly be going to schools and education and that there would be some cannabis related offenses which would remain felonies.
“If I hear you have to be over 21, that means 22,” he said. Blomo, in his ruling, called the language “clearly misleading,” as the measure would allow anyone at least 21 to buy and use the drug.
In the end, the judge ruled that only the wording regarding the age of a person legally old enough to possess or use cannabis should be rewritten prior to distribution. The other issues he felt would remain untouched – even though those running the campaign believe those are two very important parts of the initiative that many may miss out on if they do not take the time to read the entire 20 page initiative. On the bright side, they did manage to get a ruling to change one bit of misleading information and that is better than nothing.
From now until November, it’s going to be a battle between the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol and Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. All either one can do now is try and get their message out to voters – on the bright side, the Campaign has a lot of funding behind it – still more than their opposition, even after the thousands spent on paid petition gatherers. They’ve done what it takes so far and they will continue to do so – it’s only a matter of time now.