Prop 205 Opponents Take Fight Against Legalized Pot Measure To Arizona's High Court

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Friday, August 26, 2016 - 8:35am
(Photo courtesy of The Arizona Marijuana Initiative 2016)
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is the driving force behind the 2016 ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona.

Opponents of legalized marijuana asked the Arizona Supreme Court late Thursday to keep voters from getting to decide the issue.

Proposition 205 would allow any adult to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes. Challengers contend that the measure is legally flawed. Attorney Brett Johnson said the required 100 word summary of the measure leaves out some key components, like how it will affect laws on driving under the influence, the ability of companies to fire employees who have marijuana in their system, and limiting the ability of judges who are handling child custody cases to consider whether someone is using marijuana.

But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jo Lynn Gentry ruled last week all of that is legally irrelevant as Arizona law does not allow initiative opponents to bring such a lawsuit.

Johnson wants the high court to overturn that ruling. But attorney Kory Langhofer who represents supporters of the ballot measure, said that's not likely to happen. "The plaintiffs' attorneys are in a tough spot. The statute says they can't sue. The trial judge said they couldn't sue. And their clients expect them to show up at the Supreme Court and keep suing. So yeah, that's a tough spot and I kind of feel sorry for them," Langhofer said.

In their own legal filing Thursday, initiative supporters told the justices that if foes have a problem with legalizing marijuana they should take their case to the voters and not try to short-circuit the process through legal action. But Johnson said courts have an obligation to protect voters from what he claims are fraudulent and misleading measures like this.

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