ARIZONA: A law-enforcement task force in Yavapai County cut a $50,000 check from RICO funds to a substance-abuse group dedicated to fighting marijuana legalization in Arizona, New Times has learned.
The deal between the Yavapai County-based Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT) task force and MATFORCE was made soon after the Marijuana Policy Project announced it would launch a 2016 legalization campaign in Arizona — and more public funding against legalization could be on the way.
Last week, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an opinion, based on a question by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, that public resources could continue to “educate” the public about the alleged evils of marijuana legalization. The decision allows elected officials to do more than simply use their time for a campaign against a planned ballot initiative — they can apparently spend money on advertising and other efforts, too. But they have to balance their actions against a state ban against the use of public resources for campaigning.
Brnovich’s opinion makes it tougher for elected officials to violate that law — and easier to waste public funds while campaigning for their preferred candidates or, in this case, planned ballot measures.