Leman Firm On Election Date For Pot Vote

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SITKA--Lt. Gov. Loren Leman says he is standing by his decision to place
the marijuana legalization initiative on the November general election
ballot instead of the August primary.

The initiative would decriminalize marijuana use for people 21 and older.

Initiative sponsors last week filed a lawsuit seeking to have the matter
decided by voters in the primary Aug. 4. Plaintiffs Tim Hinterberger, Alvin
Anders, Scott Dunnachie and Linda Ronan asked for a declaratory judgment.

Initiative sponsors previously won a court victory forcing the lieutenant
governor to validate their petition. He initially rejected the petition on
the grounds that 194 of the 484 petition booklets had not been filled out
properly. Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock described them as
"trivial rule violations" and ordered that all valid signatures be counted.

Leman issued a letter Nov. 26 certifying that there were sufficient
signatures to place the initiative on the ballot, and on Jan. 6 scheduled
it to be placed on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

Leman told the Sitka Sentinel the matter properly should be decided in
November.

"The law says it has to be placed on the first election more than 120 days
after the end of the last legislative session that occurred after the
initiative is filed," Leman said Thursday. "I take that to mean 'properly
filed.' I determined the original submittal was not properly filed.

"However, a judge directed me to count the books we rejected for
inconsistency," Leman said. "The judge changed the rules and made the books
eligible for counting. That was according to the judge's rules, not
according to statutes or regulations."

Leman said he was mystified by the sponsors' objection to having the vote
in November, since historically the state general election has much higher
participation than the primary.

Leman was in Sitka to attend a meeting of the Denali Commission, which he
co-chairs.


Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 2004
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)
Webpage: http://www.news-miner.com/Stories/0,1413,113~7244~1914204,00.html
Copyright: 2004 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.
Contact: letters@newsminer.com
Website: newsminer.com | The voice of Interior Alaska