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Federal Court Refuses To Referee Pot Dispute

ChristopherElison via Flickr

A federal judge has refused to referee a legal fight over whether two New Mexico counties can put nonbinding questions about marijuana and taxes on the November general election ballot.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Molzen Thursday said the court lacks jurisdiction in the dispute between Secretary of State Dianna Duran and Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties.

The counties have approved advisory ballot questions to ask voters whether they support decriminalizing marijuana.

But Duran contends state law doesn't allow ballot questions that poll voters and don't have the force of law.

Duran went to federal court after the counties asked the state Supreme Court to allow the ballot questions. Duran contends the legal dispute will improperly delay the sending of absentee ballots to overseas voters.

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