Sec. of State rejects Bernalillo, Santa Fe County pot ballot advisory questions

From - By: Blair Miller, - New Mexico's Secretary of State, Dianna Duran, sent a letter to the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners Wednesday saying the decision to put "advisory" questions about marijuana decriminalization and social services is "unconstitutional and incompatible with state law."
      The letter says legal counsel for the secretary informed her "neither a municipal council nor county commission has unlimited discretion when it comes to placing questions on a General Election ballot."
      It goes on to say that "statutory language calls for a decision to be made by the electorate", and that "the drafters of the constitution nor any subsequent legislature have seen fit to authorize the expense of elections on questions for any reason other than to enact public policy."
      The ballot questions would pose the idea of marijuana decriminalization and a new social services tax to county voters, so county commissioners and city council members can have a reference point for future decisions on the matter.
      The Santa Fe County Commission voted 5-0 Tuesday to put a marijuana decriminalization advisory question on the November ballot.
      The move came one day after the Bernalillo County Commission voted to put a nearly-identical question on November's ballot, and two weeks after the Santa Fe City Council voted 5-4 to make marijuana possession of under an ounce in city limits a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $25 fine.
      Both Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties will likely appeal the secretary's decision. More