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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona voters were literally split evenly on the issue of allowing marijuana use for medical purposes, leaving the proposition far too close to call.

    Proposition 203, which would allow those with serious, chronic illness to obtain 2½ ounces of marijuana every two weeks or grow 12 marijuana plants, was failing early Wednesday but by a margin that had dwindled to fewer than 5,000 votes out of 1.3 million cast.

    There was no clear theme to the outcome of the 10 propositions on the state ballot, with voters approving measures that defy the federal health care plan and reject affirmative action, but turning down a proposal to make hunting and fishing a constitutional right.

    Voters rejected Proposition 302, which would have eliminated an array of early childhood services under the First Things First program that is funded by tobacco tax revenue. The money would have been redirected to the state's general fund, where the Legislature could use it as it saw fit in dealing with Arizona's severe budget woes.

    It would have immediately transferred $325 million from First Things First, which was created by Arizona voters in 2006.

    "First Things First appreciates this show of confidence from Arizona voters and their continued commitment to our youngest kid," First Things First board chairman Steven Lynn said in a statement released by the organization. "We will continue in our mission to ensure that all Arizona kids have the tools they need to start kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed."

    Voters also rejected a similar measure, Proposition 301, that would have shifted money from a voter-protected conservation fund to the general fund.

    It was the fourth time the state had put the marijuana issue to a vote. Proposals in 1996 and 1998 were approved but a problem with the wording blocked their enactment. In 2002, a far more sweeping proposal to decriminalize possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for any purpose was rejected.

    About 55 percent of voters approved Proposition 106, which defies the new federal health care plan with an amendment to the state constitution.

    The amendment prohibits forced participation in health care plans, but opponents have said it will have no impact because courts will rule that federal law trumps anything passed by state voters.

    The author of the proposition, Dr. Eric Novack, said passage of the measure sends a "crystal clear" message.

    "The people of Arizona believe that health care reforms must not violate freedoms we all hold dear," he said in a statement, "that health care decisions must ultimately belong in the hands of patients and families, not politicians and their pals."

    The amendment prohibits requiring a person or employer to participate in a health care system. It bans penalties against patients or businesses who pay for health care services on their own.

    The health care plan approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama this spring requires almost everyone to be insured or pay a fine. That aspect of the law takes effect in 2014.

    Proposition 107, the anti-affirmative action measure, was approved by a wide margin.

    It bans state and local governments from discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity and sex. However, the measure provides what could be a broad exception for "bona fide" qualifications based on sex and for a preference or program whose elimination would violate a court order or lead to the loss of federal funds.

    Voters also approved Proposition 113, an amendment to the Arizona Constitution that guarantees the right of a secret ballot for employees deciding whether to be represented by unions.

    The immediate effect is minimal because employers already can demand a secret ballot in such votes.

    Proposition 109, which would have made hunting and fishing a constitutionally guaranteed right, went down despite the support of Gov. Jan Brewer, the state Game and Fish Commission and the National Rifle Association.

    There will be no lieutenant governor in Arizona.

    Voters rejected Proposition 111, which would have renamed the office of secretary of state to lieutenant governor. It also would have required each political party to have candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run on one ticket and be voted into office together.

    Nov 3, 2010 10:08pm


  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Re: Arizona marijuana measure too close to call

    Arizona pot measure pulls ahead in vote count

    PHOENIX (AP) — A measure that would legalize medical marijuana in Arizona pulled ahead for the first time Friday, with both supporters and opponents saying they believed the proposal that went before voters on Election Day would pass.

    Proposition 203 was ahead by 4,421 votes out of more than 1.63 million votes counted. The measure started out losing by about 7,200 votes on Nov. 2 and the gap gradually narrowed in the following 10 days.

    Only about 10,000 early and provisional ballots remain to be counted in the state, and all are in Maricopa County.

    If the measure passes, Arizona would be the 15th state with a medical marijuana law.

    "We were optimistic that this is what the result was going to be today, and we're thrilled that it came to reality," said Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project. "Moving forward it's our responsibility to help implement a program that Arizona can be proud of."

    Opponents of the initiative, including all Arizona's sheriff's and county prosecutors, the governor, attorney general, and many other politicians, came out against the proposed law.

    "All of the political leaders came out and warned Arizonans that this was going to have very dire effects on a number of levels," said Carolyn Short, chairwoman of Keep AZ Drug Free, the group that organized opposition to the initiative. "I don't think that all Arizonans have heard those dire predictions.

    "Election night and this entire week has been a very exciting time for us — we just didn't know we had actually lost," Short said. "I am incredibly proud of our small but dedicated army of volunteers who worked very, very hard for months to educate voters about Prop 203."

    Backers of Proposition 203 argued that thousands of patients faced "a terrible choice" of suffering with a serious or even terminal illness or going to the criminal market for pot. They collected more than 252,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot — nearly 100,000 more than required.

    The measure will allow patients with diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and any other "chronic or debilitating" disease that meets guidelines to buy more 2½ ounces of marijuana every two weeks or grow plants.

    The patients must get a recommendation from their doctor and register with the Arizona Department of Health Services. The law also allows for no more than 124 marijuana dispensaries in the state.

    "Our law is written to be incredibly restrictive. We're talking only about seriously or terminally ill patients," Myers said. "There are 14 medical marijuana states, and for political reasons they decided to narrow in on (problems in) California because they don't believe that marijuana is medicine at all."

    The measure began Friday losing by about 1,500 votes.

    The vast majority of outstanding votes were in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, on Friday morning. About 30,000 provisional ballots during the day, and those went heavily for medical marijuana backers. The county also processed 5,024 early ballots.

    Maricopa County has 8,000 early and 2,000 provisional ballots still to count, and all other counties have finished their counts. Outstanding ballots will be counted through the weekend despite a state law that generally says all vote tallying must be completed by Friday.

    Teams made up of members of the Republican and Democratic parties are overseeing elections workers tasked with reviewing the early ballot. Those ballots have some problem that prevents a vote-count machine from tallying them, typically because a voter used a marker to fill in the oval and it bled through to the other side or otherwise is unreadable.

    The teams are examining the ballots, determining voter intent and filling out new ballots that the machine can read, Purcell said.

    Associated Press
    November 12 2010

  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Re: Arizona marijuana measure too close to call

    Medical marijuana pulls it out

    The Proposition 203 medical marijuana measure has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and has been approved by Arizona voters.

    The "Yes" side took a large majority of late votes, including provisional ballots in which voters might not have had identification on election day but came back to elections offices to validate their ballots.

    The "Yes" votes for Prop. 203 stand at 4,341 votes ahead, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's office.

    Late Friday, the "Yes" votes had taken the lead in the tight race to legalize medical marijuana. The "No" side had lead by as much as 7,000 vote throughout the lengthy vote tabulations that have dragged on well beyond Election Day. There were 841,436 votes in favor of the measure and 837,005 votes opposed.

    The come-from-behind win is a victory for the Phoenix-based Riester public relations firm, which ran the "Yes on 203" campaign. It's loss for the Arizona Cardinals and its executives, who financed the opposition to the measure. Cards General Manager Rod Graves donated $2,500 to the "No" effort. The team chipped in another $10,000 and Cardinals President Michael Bidwill was part of opposition campaign along with long-time Valley businessman Jerry Colangelo.

    Prop. 203 was the closest vote in Arizona's general election. The medical marijuana legalization comes even as conservative Republicans won most of the key races. The contest is so close that it likely will result in a recount.

    Phoenix Business Journal - by Mike Sunnucks
    Date: Saturday, November 13, 2010

  3. Master_Khan
    Tears of joy go out to all who fought for this fantastic victory for Marijuana law reform. It must be pandemonium in AZ homes this AM as the word spreads. Too bad the shitheads in Cali couldn't make it happen there would really be something to build on going into 2012.
  4. Alfa
    This has brightened my day. Its very nice to see there is an ongoing improvement in US drug policy. Lets hope this trend continues.
  5. C.D.rose
    Will there be no recount? Not that I hope there will, but don't close votes like this usually get an automatic recount?
  6. thundercles
    I just heard from someone a few hours ago that it did. I didn't really follow it because I figured it would be shot down in flames since a previous medical marijuana related propositions have done horribly in past elections. I figured one this liberal was doomed and didn't even check whether it had passed especially since our voters made pretty miserable choices on just about the entire rest of the ballot (Jan Brewer comes across in speaking events as a complete airhead and she will likely give sheriff Joe a run for his money as far as embarrassing the state of Arizona is concerned.)

    I guess the fact that most the other states in our region have passed progressive marijuana laws must have had an effect on us. I don't currently smoke it or have a medical condition that it would be prescribed for but as a person who has been to prison for marijuana possession in Arizona this brings a large amount of satisfaction. I did follow the California marijuana proposition though on election day and am disappointed that our neighbor didn't manage to lead the nation yet another degree further towards ending prohibition for it.

    Who would've thunk AZ would pass a pro-marijana law in the same election that CA shoots one down?

    Edit: and so far there doesn't seem to be a recount ordered, we've had a lot of close calls on propositions in the past and I can't remember there ever being an automatic recount for one. The person who informed me it passed earlier said she went to a website that showed the full voting statistics for this election so I imagine she would have seen something about a recount on there. She did mention that Maricela county actually voted against it and that it was the rural counties with lots of native american population that voted heavily enough for it that pushed it over the edge.

    I was already proud of us for being the first heavily urbanized state to make it legal to carry concealed weapons without a permit (3rd in the nation) now I have more to be proud of. I guess with the recession gave our political people a bunch of free time and they decided to shake things up since the state doesn't have money for them to mismanage. Guess it will give them more national press coverage to make us look like a bunch of dumb desert hicks.
  7. Terrapinzflyer
    I had actually researched this question a bit the day after the election. As far as I can tell- automatic recount only kicks in for office races (ie: governor, legislature etc) OR for measures that would amend the state constitution - neither of which apply here.

    Further- the automatic recount is triggered in the 2 cases mentioned above for races were the margin is within 1/10% - and I believe this vote was 3/10%.

    So per my understanding no automatic recount.

    Oddly enough- the last county to report/certify the results on this vote was ultra conservative Maricopa county - home of right wing Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

    So we now have 15 states plus the District of Columbia where medical use of marijuana is legal, plus at least 1 more (Iowa) where the state board of pharmacy has moved it to Schedule II.
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