No Foolin'

State judge blazes the legal challenge suggesting that recreational weed effort was misleading to Arizona voters.


Maricopa Superior Court Judge James Smith ruled last week that Smart and Safe Arizona's 100-word summary does not mislead voters as challenged by initiative's opposition, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

The opposition took issue with several aspects of the effort, namely what they consider a lack of principal provisions in the initiative's summary and including highly potent marijuana concentrates along with bud flower in their definition of marijuana.

In his ruling, Judge Smith said Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy "did not supply evidence that the summary actually misled any electors."

"They did not provide survey data showing that potential electors would interpret the summary inconsistently with the initiative," Judge Smith wrote. "Instead, their arguments turned on what hypothetical electors would want to know and how the summary deviated from those predicted desires."

Smith also noted that marijuana concentrates are already defined as marijuana under medical marijuana law, allowing every part of the plant to be used for medicinal purposes. The judge points out Smart and Safe Arizona essentially uses the same legal definition in their wording.

"Electors are not likely to be confused that legalizing recreational marijuana will include resin extract when the medical marijuana law allows it," Judge Smith wrote.

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy Chair Lisa James said her group is disappointed with the judge's decision and plans to appeal. They will have five days from when the decision was released to do so.

"We've spoken with our attorney and feel very confident in moving on to the Supreme Court," James said. "So yes, we will be appealing."

Should opponents lose their appeal, James said they still feel confident their messaging will help sway voters their way in the upcoming election.

"We plan to fight it all the way to the ballot and we expect that we'll be successful," James said. "Once Arizona voters find out what's contained in (Smart and Safe Arizona's) 17 pages, more than 10,000 words, they will be very concerned."

Polling has shown significant support in favor of the initiative.

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