- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on an Arizona initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana use (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

A Maricopa County judge has given lawyers defending an initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona several weeks to prepare their case.

Judge Jo Lynn Gentry on Tuesday said she’ll hear arguments on the case filed by 13 individuals and groups including Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk on Aug. 12. They’re trying to get the court to block the initiative from the November ballot.

That gives backers of the initiative time to rebut arguments that the 100-word explanation on petition sheets doesn’t fully explain the effects of the proposed legalization and that it doesn’t contain a legal funding mechanism.

Polk says the challenge is about the integrity of the initiative process and that backers of the initiative didn’t follow the rules.

The attorney for the backers of the initiative says the opponents have a weak case at best. Kory Langhofer says they’re just trying a Hail Mary pass to keep the initiative off the November ballot.

State election officials still are verifying whether the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted the 150,000 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

3 a.m.

Opponents of a campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona will urge a judge to bar the initiative from the November ballot.

Attorneys for Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy will make their arguments Tuesday in a Phoenix courtroom. They argue in part that the citizen’s initiative should be blocked because the 100-word explanation on petition sheets doesn’t fully explain the effects of the proposed legalization.

The suit was brought by 13 individuals and groups including Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk.

Backers say the lawsuit is a desperate attempt to keep voters from having the right to vote to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol.

Election officials still are verifying whether the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted enough valid signatures to qualify.

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