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Recreational Marijuana Ballot Initiative Likely To Be Certified Thursday

Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Medical marijuana cures in a Phoenix grow facility.

It appears likely that state officials will certify a petition to legalize recreational marijuana for the November ballot, but that doesn’t mean voters will get to decide the issue this year.

Members of The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced Wednesday state officials have told them there are enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, and it’s expected to appear as Proposition 205.

The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office indicated the official certification will likely come on Thursday, but the results have not yet been finalized.

The news comes a day after attorneys for a group suing to block the initiative from the ballot said the measure would hijack other Arizona laws.

In the latest filing leading up to oral arguments on Friday, lawyers for the initiative’s opposition said authors of a 100-word summary used to gather signatures left out stipulations that will change state family, employment and criminal law. They also said the marijuana legalization initiative’s supporters tried to cater to voters by illegally cherry picking the details included in the summary.

Attorneys for the campaign supporting the measure have said the suit is mostly political, and have asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit. They previously argued the summary is legal and accurate. They also said a disclaimer warns voters the summary is only a description, and they have the right to read the entire initiative before signing.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act requires ballots to be finalized 45 days before the election, according to a spokesperson for the Arizona Secretary of State. Voters will head to the polls Nov. 8.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.