Democracy flushed

In Nevada, government officials kept a pot legalization initiative off the ballot by using a technicality to throw out thousands of signatures from newly registered voters. Efforts are now underway to gather signatures to get the issue on the state ballot in 2006.
Similarly, polls showed that a med-pot vote in Arkansas would have won, but the governments’ petition-signature disqualification game ruined the Arkansas Alliance for Medical Marijuana’s hopes of getting the question before voters.

Some ballot initiatives proffering city-wide changes to pot laws faced the same undemocratic opposition. A med-pot ballot initiative in Minneapolis was quashed by city councilors who voted to simply not allow it to go forward, despite their having gathered the required number of signatures. Their decision prompted a lawsuit by ballot proponents at the Marijuana Policy Project.

A Country Circuit Court in Tallahasse, Florida, ruled that a ballot asking to make marijuana a low-priority offense couldn’t be put to a vote because it violated state laws. Yet similar initiatives have successfully passed in other US cities.

If state law is a good excuse to uphold pot laws in Tallahasse, it isn’t a good excuse to lighten them in some California cities. Last October, the city of Visalia, California, decided to indefinitely delay the consideration of an ordinance that would protect and control med-pot sellers, and the city of Folsom, California, opted to put a full moratorium on the practice.