Arizona Cannabis News would like to share with you the first challenge filed by individuals supporting the continuance of prohibition in Arizona. This was the initiative to be on the ballot and it is now being sued to stop. We invite you to read the 153-page complaint and will follow up later this month with a full legal analysis.
“It was disheartening to see the Arizona legislature not even attempt to craft an agreeable bill this year (or any other year). The citizens of Arizona were left no choice but to pursue public initiative – the single greatest vehicle of direct democracy permitted by the constitution in the majority of states. Over 420,000 Arizonans signed the ballot petition. This 17-page lawsuit by 7 fellow citizens is just another attempt to ignore the will of the voters. Picayune arguments, like the petition’s 100-word summary, fails to properly inform the citizenry about all the material aspects of the (also 17-page) initiative, should not prevail. But the lawsuit was filed and now a few citizens will decide for all 7.2 million Arizonans what they may and may not vote upon, even by the public initiative. Be clear, it does not matter what the initiative reads, they don’t even want you to have the opportunity to vote on the question.” Gary Michael Smith, Esq.
Click here below to read the Arizonans for Health and Public Safety Lawsuit below
(AP): The lawsuit challenges the 100-word summary of the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, saying it misleads voters about key provisions of the initiative. Voters see the summary when they sign petitions to qualify an initiative for the ballot.
Now, all four initiatives whose backers filed enough signatures to make the November ballot face court challenges. Initiatives boosting taxes on high-earning Arizonans to fund education, forbidding surprise medical billing and overhauling the state’s criminal sentencing rules face similar challenges to the summary, and two of the four lawsuits challenge signatures as well.
The challenge to the marijuana legalization initiative claims the summary of the proposal failed to tell voters who signed petitions that it would also cover hashish and other more potent forms of marijuana, changes state law on driving under the influence and doesn’t specifically say that a 16% tax on marijuana sales can’t be increased by the Legislature.
“It is virtually impossible to fix or update it after the fact when there are unintended consequences, making it imperative that voters be fully apprised,” James said in a statement.
The national law firm Polsinelli is representing the group, with former Arizona Rep. John Shadegg as one of the lead attorneys. He called the summary “clearly deceptive.”
“The proponent’s summary of the initiative is confusing and deceptive in numerous ways, beginning with the very definition of marijuana,” Shadegg said in a statement.
Chad Campbell, chair of the group backing the measure, called the lawsuit “frivolous and ridiculous.”
“There’s no legal or technical merit to it – their arguments are campaign arguments,” Campbell said. “This is just a desperate attempt by very small group of people funded by the Center for Arizona Policy to try to keep the voters of Arizona from having their say in the matter.”
Two of the initiatives, the ones banning surprise billing and increasing education funding, also face challenges to their qualifying signatures. Backers of all four turned in far in excess of the required number of signatures to make the ballot. The Secretary of State is reviewing the petition sheets and will send a sample to county recorders for verification before certifying that they have enough to make the ballot.
The lawsuits will be heard in the coming weeks under expedited scheduling orders.
www.MITA-AZ.org will be hosting a free public zoom meeting to discuss the nuances of the lawsuit.. Stay tuned for more information