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Drive to limit marijuana penalties goes to pot

A move aimed at reducing the penalties for minor possession of marijuana in Tucson has been nipped in the bud, at least temporarily.

Organizers of an initiative drive showed up at City Hall Thursday carrying boxes of petitions signatures.

However, the Tucson city clerk refused to accept the petitions based on advice from the city attorney who says the state constitution prohibits city voters from amending state criminal statutes through the initiative process.

A petition organizer tells the Arizona Daily Star the group plans to consult with attorneys to figure out the next step.

That could include an appeal to Pima County Superior Court or asking the City Council to refer the matter directly to the November ballot.

The initiative aims to reduce the penalty for a first-time pot possession offense of less than 2.5 ounces to a fine of $25.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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