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Marijuana advocates claim misstatements of fact for ballot measure

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Supporters of legalized marijuana go to court on 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 be rewritten.

But Reagan spokesman Matt Roberts said there’s nothing wrong with the verbiage. And Roberts noted the language had 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 are going to go.

“If you were a legislator looking at a bill that’s providing for a tax, you’d want to know what’s going to happen to that tax,” he said. “If you’re never told where it’s going to go, you’d have a different impression of that bill than if you said it’s going to go to education, law enforcement and local government.”

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 2 1/2 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 on 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 a separate 100-word description of the measure on petitions, crafted by supporters, 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.

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