Legal Marijuana Ballot Measures Forced to Sue State Officials

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Marijuana reform groups in a number of states have filled lawsuits to keep from being sabotaged by state officials.

In Arkansas, supporters with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) are suing Secretary of State Michele Reagan over the ballot description set to go before the voting public later this fall.

The CRMLA argues that Reagan left out crucial details from the description of Proposition 205 that could give voters the wrong impression about what it means to legalize marijuana. The complaint asserts that Reagan failed to include the fact that the 15 percent pot tax would be allocated for area schools. Organizers also says they have a problem with the wording “over 21 years old” when “21 and older” would be the rule for those wishing to “use, carry, manufacture, give away or transport marijuana.”

“The publication of a publicity pamphlet and general election ballot containing false and misleading information will irreparably injure the Plaintiffs and all Arizona voters,” the complaint reads.

Proposition 205 would allow voters to decide whether Arizona should establish a taxed and regulate recreational cannabis trade similar to what is currently underway in Colorado. However, the folks behind the initiative are concerned that the state’s description fails to provide the voters with accurate enough detail. They are asking the court for permission to redesign the language before the pamphlets used to inform voters on upcoming ballot measures are printed and distributed.

The deadline for this change is Thursday, September 1.

Oklahomans for Health, the organization seeking to legalize a statewide medical marijuana program, has been forced to contend with a similar issue. Although the group recently submitted more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in the November election, they have been given no choice but to challenge the ballot title designed by the state attorney general’s office because they say it was drafted to “cause fear an uncertainty.”

Unfortunately, this battle will likely prevent the measure from moving forward in 2016.

Meanwhile, across the country, pot proponents in Michigan are still fighting to get a ballot measure aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana on the ballot. MILegalize recently petitioned the Michigan Supreme Court in hopes of being awarded the reinstatement of the hundreds of thousands of signatures it needs to get the issue before the voters this November.

Last week, a Michigan judge dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by the group seeking to bring 200,000 of its outdated signatures back into play. Referencing a 1986 precedent set by the state Supreme Court, the judge said that, “signatures more than 180 days old are stale and void.”

Supporters with the MILegalize campaign are hoping the Supreme Court will overturn the decision handed down last Wednesday by Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borello and allow the proposal to go before the voters in the spirit of the American democracy.

“Immediate action is necessary so that the voters are not deprived of their right to vote” on the issue this November, reads a motion filed in Supreme Court.

However, in all three cases, time is of the essence. Federal law requires all absentee ballots to mailed out by September 23. This means many state ballots will head to the printing press as early as the first week of September.

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