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Judge rules pot ballot language ‘clearly misleading’

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A trial judge today ordered a change in how Secretary of State Michele Reagan is describing to voters the effects of a measure to legalize marijuana.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Blomo rejected arguments that Reagan was factually correct when she said that the drug would be available only to those “over 21.” Assistant Attorney General James Driscoll-Maceachron told the judge that “over 21” can mean the same thing as being 21 or older.

“I guess I disagree with that,” Blomo responded, saying it runs contrary to a plain understanding of the English language.

“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.

But Blomo refused to make two other changes sought by proponents of Proposition 205: that voters be told a 15 percent tax on the drug would help fund education, and that some drug offenses would remain felonies.
Supporters of Proposition 205 are arguing about the verbiage because Reagan’s description of what the measure would do appears not only on the ballot but also in a pamphlet mailed to the homes of all registered voters.

What Blomo ruled today, however, could be academic.

The Arizona Supreme Court is expected to rule later today whether voters get a chance to decide the issue at all.

Opponents charge that both a required 100-word description and the initiative itself is misleading and should not be allowed to go on the ballot. But that argument already has been rebuffed by a trial court judge.

3 comments

  1. Judge Blomo’s idea that “over 21” equals “22 or more” has no relation to “plain understanding” of the language is ridiculous, both linguistically and mathematically.

  2. Not exactly a math major this one. Over 21 years means 21 years plus 1 second. Greater than 21. How this fool could equate over 21 to mean at least 22 is beyond comprehension.

  3. If I have over $21.00 I could have $21.01 or getting gas I could have $21.00 and 9/10 a cent. Guess the judge just figured someone might want to light up on their birthday.

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