Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wants the Arizona Supreme Court to reinstate the ban of medical marijuana on college campuses. The petition submitted to the court is 15-pages long. State lawyers say that the Legislature was within its rights of altering the voter-approved law signed into law in 2012 by former Governor Jan Brewer.
Brnovich wants laws reinstated that would make having medical marijuana on a college campus a felony, according to Phoenix New Times. They’d also be prosecuted for having marijuana in any amount, regardless of their status as an Arizona medical marijuana cardholder. Controversy has swirled this year about Arizona’s Voter Protection Act and the inability to amend voter-approved issues.
Governor Ducey made the process of launching initiatives in the state more difficult after signing several bills into law earlier in 2017. One of the changes is that signature gatherers can’t be paid per signature. Another new law is that petitions that aren’t perfect in their applications can be disregarded.
Attorney Tom Dean said, “Even more than marijuana, there’s a frustration about not being able to amend voter initiatives. That’s what I really think is driving [the new petition for review].”
According to the Voter Protection Act a ¾ majority is required to change or amend voter-approved initiatives. A ¾ majority is not required if amendments “furthers the purposes” of the current law.
Some of the reasoning for this appeal is that universities and colleges cannot receive federal funds if illicit drugs are permitted on campuses. Medical marijuana might be legal in Arizona, but is still federally illegal.
Medical marijuana is banned from elementary and high school properties, which was included in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act as a regulation. State attorneys don’t see how banning it from university and college campuses is any different.
Dean said, “I’m confident the [Arizona] Supreme Court will be able to see through that.”
Dean says this attempt to ban medical marijuana from college and university campuses is no improvement from the last attempt. Banning medical marijuana is okay, but penalties can’t be criminalized unless they are in violation of the state’s medical marijuana laws. Dean also pointed out that there hasn’t been a university or college in the country that’s lost funding due to decriminalized marijuana laws.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is quoted as saying, “The 2010 voter-approved law prohibits the possession of medical marijuana on public school grounds. We believe the legislature acted within their authority to further the purpose of the initiative by preventing possession of medical marijuana on publicly funded college campuses.”