Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative Makes Ballot

An initiative that would let Montana voters undo legislative changes that gutted the state's medical marijuana law will be on the ballot in November 2012. According to the Montana Secretary of State, organizers for I-124 have collected enough signatures to make the ballot.

medical cannabis with vaporizer (wikimedia.org)
The initiative needed 24,337 valid voter signatures to make the ballot; it handed in 26,778 valid signatures. It needed to obtain the signatures of at least 5% of registered voters in at least 34 of the state's 100 legislative districts; it qualified in 49.

The initiative campaign is in response to the Republican-controlled state legislature, which first passed a bill to completely repeal the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law, and then, after it was vetoed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), passed another bill, Senate Bill 423, essentially killing the state's medical marijuana distribution system. That bill was challenged in court, and parts of it were enjoined, but other onerous portions of it remain in effect.

That will be the case until and unless Montanans vote for the initiative next November. Organizers could have attempted to repeal the law outright through the initiative process, but that would have required three times the number of signatures needed to get this measure on the ballot, and that was beyond the reach of the ill-funded, nearly all-volunteer effort.

See our feature story last week for more on the Montana campaign to repeal SB 423.

Helena, MT
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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