Home Culture California’s Legalization Campaign Challenges Ballot Arguments

California’s Legalization Campaign Challenges Ballot Arguments


As November approaches, there are many things being done in preparation for the election –  in California, one of those things is putting together voter guides which will be distributed to help voters make an informed decision on a number of different issues. However, with less than 10 days left until the guides are to be finalized, a lawsuit was filed in against multiple arguments made in opposition to Proposition 64  which aims to legalize recreational use and sale of marijuana. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the campaign behind Proposition 64 by Graham Boyed.

The arguments they are challenging they would like to see either amended or removed before the final printing of the voter guides – there are three specific arguments that they explain are misrepresentations of their initiative. The first argument is that it would advertise edible marijuana products such as gummy bears and brownies, which may be appealing to children – however the initiative expresses the opposite, banning advertising to minors under the age of 21 as well as banning edibles that are designed to look like traditional candies.

The second argument that they are trying to get stricken from the guide claims that it would repeal measures put into place just last year to help bring order to the medical marijuana industry. On the contrary, Proposition 64 builds off of those restrictions and would not make changes to any of them. They even go as far as saying that the initiative would be able to “roll back” the complete ban on smoking on television – which those campaigning for this initiative remind us is a federal ban which they have no control over whatsoever.

“Proposition 64 cannot, as a matter of law, ‘roll back’ or ‘overturn’ these federal laws, or ‘exempt’ any conducts from these federal laws,” the complaint states.

There are not often complaints against ballot arguments – especially ones that are brought to court; however these arguments were brought on by individuals known as opposition to the legalization movement and pretty clearly misrepresent the initiative. Since these voter guides are meant to help people be aware of what they are voting for, the campaign clearly wants to have their initiative represented properly.

“Defenders of the failed war on marijuana are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts,” Kinney said in a statement. “More so than any I’ve seen in recent memory, the ballot arguments submitted with a straight face by the opponents fundamentally and factually misrepresent this ballot measure and are riddled with obvious falsehoods.”

The courts only have until August 15th to make a decision as to how to handle this situation – they may ask that the arguments be completely removed and they may simply ask for them to be revised to more accurately reflect the initiative being voted on. The worst case scenario is that the courts decide to do nothing at all, and allow these false statements to make it into the hands of voters who don’t know any better. Hopefully we will at least see some revisions when it comes to the ballot arguments.