Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jan 2005
Source: North Lake Tahoe Bonanza (NV)
Copyright: 2005, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
Author: Geoff Dornan, Bonanza News Service
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project ( )
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


The Marijuana Policy Project Monday joined the American Cancer Society
in asking the Nevada Secretary of State's Office to reverse its denial
of its initiative petition.

Citing what they described as "numerous errors" in the Nevada Attorney
General's Opinion saying they needed up to 30,000 more signatures to
qualify, initiative backers requested that Secretary of State Dean
Heller transmit the petition to legalize small amounts of marijuana to
the 2005 Legislature.

Spokesman Bruce Mirken said they and "Smoke-Free Kids," organizers of
the anti-smoking petition caught by the same attorney general's
opinion, are also planning a state lawsuit and a federal lawsuit over
the ruling.

The groups collected signatures on their petitions for several months
and submitted them to Heller's office Nov. 9. But a month after they
submitted the petitions, the Attorney General's Office issued an
opinion saying they needed 83,156 valid signatures to qualify instead
of the 51,337 signatures they had been told were the minimum
throughout the petition campaign.

The basis of the ruling was a requirement that petitions gather
signatures totaling 10 percent of the turnout in the "last general

The 51,337 total is 10 percent of the November 2002 turnout but - at
the request of overloaded county election officials - the petitions
weren't turned in until after the November 2004 elections and 10
percent of that turnout is 83,156 signatures.

Attorney General Brian Sandoval ruled "last general election" means
just that, and the petition organizers must meet the higher

Heller rejected the petitions as failed, saying he had no choice.

"We are hoping Secretary Heller will recognize that his previous
action changes the rules after the game has ended, violates our right
to due process and simply doesn't pass the straight-face test," said
Neal Levine, of the Marijuana Policy Project. "But if he won't play
fair, we fully expect to win in federal court."

The marijuana petition asks the Legislature to legalize possession of
small amounts of marijuana among other changes to the law.

Bob Crowell, who filed the same request last week on behalf of the
Cancer Society, also said it was unfair to change the rules after the
petitions had been turned in. 
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