An effort to undo a more restrictive medical marijuana law in Montana faces an uphill battle, according to a poll done last week. The Mason Dixon poll had the medical marijuana reform effort trailing 31% to 44%, with 25% undecided. The good news is that in order for the new, restrictive law to stay in effect, it must get 50% of the vote plus one.
So, that's 44% saying yes, keep the new, more restrictive law and only 31% saying the original 2004 law should be put back in place.
Legislative Republicans cited a rapid increase in the number of medical marijuana cardholders, large grow operations, and the proliferation of dispensaries in first attempting to repeal the medical marijuana law outright. Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) vetoed that first effort, but when the legislature passed SB 423, he let it go into effect without his signature.
Calling the new law a travesty that gutted their program, medical marijuana supporters gathered more than 35,000 signatures and managed to qualify for the ballot late last year.
Now they have their work cut out for them. Republicans back the initiative by 52% to 31%, independents by 46% to 31%, and even Democrats back it 33% to 32%. Similarly, both men (46% to 37%) and women (42% to 25%) back endorsing the new, restrictive law.
Still, six weeks out from Election Day, there is not a majority in support of IR-124, and there are still a large number of undecideds. That means Patients for Reform Not Repeal and other supporters of the original law could still emerge victorious. IR-124 must get 50% plus one to win, and initiatives polling below that this late in the game are in danger of losing, as Bob Brigham, the group's campaign manager noted.
"Historically, ballot measures that don't start near 60% support are in danger of failing," he noted. "IR-124 doesn't even hit 50%. That's a bad sign for the legislature's proposal, especially if we do our job and explain to voters why they should vote against this 'godawful' law."