Voters in Arizona will consider
two competing initiatives with very different emphases. Proposition
203, the Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act of 2002, sponsored
by The People Have Spoken, is a multifaceted reform effort that builds
on successful initiatives by the same group in 1996 and 1998. The
initiative would decriminalize marijuana possession, require the state
Department of Public Safety to distribute medical marijuana to qualified
patients, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession, require
a sentence of probation -- not jail -- for a drug possession offense, allow
judges to order drug offenders to treatment but not to jail them if they
fail, and require parole for everyone convicted of personal possession
of any drug.
While opponents, including
drug czar John Walters, who was in the state to campaign against the initiative
last week, have criticized every aspect of the initiative, it is the provision
barring judges from jailing drug offenders for violating treatment orders
that sparked an opposition initiative. Proposition 302, spearheaded
by Maricopa County Prosecutor Rick Romley, who aspires to be national drug
czar some day, would allow judges to impose jail time or revoke probation
for persons who failed or refused drug treatment.
The Arizona law enforcement
establishment is solidly opposed to Prop. 203, as are both major party
gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Janet Napolitano and Republican Matt
Salmon, who stood flanking Walters at a news conference last week.
But that doesn't seem to make much difference to Arizona voters, who appear
poised to pass the reform. The $1.3 million put into the campaign
by University of Phoenix founder John Sperling may have something to do
with that. While opponents make generous use of their public offices
to attack the initiative, in terms of real campaign contributions they
have raised only $75,000.
The most recent statewide
poll, conducted between September 26 and 29 by the Social Research Laboratory
at Northern Arizona University, showed Prop. 203 leading with 53% support.
Even Romley, point man for the Arizona drug war, appears to have conceded
defeat. "I strongly suspect that it will pass," he told the Arizona
Daily Sun on October 1.
No polling data exists for
Prop 203 as it appears on
possession for personal use; $250 civil fine; Requires state to distribute
marijuana free of charge upon physician's written documentation; Increases
maximum penalty for violent crimes committed under influence of drugs;
Eliminates mandatory minimum sentences; Requires parole if convicted of
personal possession of controlled substance unless danger to public.
Proposition 302 as it appears
on the ballot:
A "yes" vote shall have the
effect of decriminalizing marijuana possession for personal use, providing
for a $250 civil fine, requiring distribution of marijuana free of charge
by the Department of Public Safety if a person's physician provides written
documentation, increases the maximum sentence for violent crimes while
committed under the influence of drugs, eliminates mandatory minimum sentences
for drugs, requires parole for persons convicted of personal possession
of a controlled substance unless they are a danger to the public.
A "no" vote shall have the
effect of retaining the current criminal penalties for possession of marijuana
and other controlled substances.
Allows court to
impose term of incarceration if person convicted of personal possession
or use of controlled substance or drug paraphernalia violates probation
by committing another drug-related offense or refusing to participate in
drug treatment, or if the person refuses drug treatment or rejects probation
at the time of sentencing.
For complete initiative language,
A "yes" vote shall have the
effect of allowing a court to impose a term of incarceration if a person
convicted of personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug
paraphernalia violates probation by committing a drug-related offense or
violates a court order relating to drug treatment, or if the person refuses
drug treatment or rejects probation at sentencing.
A "no" vote shall have the
effect of not allowing a court to impose a term of incarceration for persons
convicted of possession of a controlled substance for personal use.
-- END --
Issue #259, 10/18/02
Election 2002:00:00 The Initiatives | Election 2002:00:00 Arizona | Election 2002:00:00 District of Columbia | Election 2002:00:00 Nevada | Election 2002:00:00 Ohio | Election 2002:00:00 South Dakota | Election 2002:00:00 Local Ballot Issues in San Francisco and Massachusetts | November Coalition Journey for Justice Roars through Michigan | Drug War Corruption in Colombia and Mexico | Newsbrief: New Compilation of California Medical Marijuana Guideline Info on MarijuanaInfo.org | Newsbrief: San Diego Medical Marijuana Activist Arrested on Federal Charges | Newsbrief: Damned Sad -- MADD Sues DAMMADD | Newsbrief: This Week's Cop Corruption Story | Newsbrief: DARE Attrition Continues in Kansas City, Kansas | Newsbrief: Canada Study Looks at Marijuana for HIV/AIDS Woes | Newsbrief: In First, British Marijuana User Wins with Medical Necessity Defense | Newsbrief: Virginia Man Lucks Out with Only Two Years in Prison for Sharing Joint with Teenager | Newsbrief: BC City Governments Ask for Tougher Grow Penalties | Newsbrief: Florida School District Wants Positive Drug Test Kids to Pay for Own Counseling | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar
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