Despite the bad weather, the coronavirus pandemic, and legal setbacks, cannabis activists have collected enough signature places to legalize recreational cannabis, thereby gaining the right to vote in this year’s election.
Montana voters are very likely to be hit this year in legalizing adult marijuana use. Last Friday, marijuana advocacy group New Approach Montana submitted more than 130,000 signatures in a petition to incorporate the Adult Use Legalization Initiative into this year’s general election.
The militants began their recruitment campaign early this year, but due to the popularity of COVID-19, they forced to suspend their work in March. State Senator Dave Lewis, together with the New Approach Party, sued the state for their constitutional rights to collect electronic signatures during isolation. However, the state judge rejected their request, and the campaign forced to suspend their signature collection attempts.
The campaign seems to be on track, and the state began to reopen in mid-May. The militants immediately took to the streets, holding masks and disposable pens, and started to collect signatures carefully. As of June 19, the deadline for submitting signatures, New Approach’s heroic efforts paid off. The event was able to submit enough signatures to qualify for voting.
Due to the complexity of state laws, activists had to submit two voting measures. The first is a statutory change that will establish a licensed and regulated adult cannabis market. State law requires at least 25,000 signatures to qualify for a legislative vote, and the campaign submitted approximately 52,000 signatures.
The second voting initiative is a constitutional amendment that will prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from legally buying or using weeds. If the legalization initiative passed, but the amendment not passed, any Montana residents over the age of 18 will be allowed to purchase pots. The state needs 51,000 signatures to meet the constitutional amendment requirements, and the organization collected about 80,000 signatures for this plan.
“We’ve overcome a global pandemic, wildfires, floods, hail, snow, and hurricane-force winds. Our campaign implemented strict health protocols and worked around the clock so that Montana voters could sign our petitions safely and qualify these popular initiatives for the November ballot. We collected signatures from every corner of the state and all 100 state house districts.” Pepper Petersen, the spokesperson for New Approach Montana, said.
Election officials must now verify each signature to ensure that the signature is valid, this process may take up to a month. During this process, thousands of signatures usually ruled out as invalid. Still, the new method collects nearly 30,000 additional signatures for each plan, ensuring both programs reach their thresholds.
The state legalized medical marijuana in 2004, but lawmakers canceled the bill in 2016, and the law restricted each pharmacy to provide services for only three patients. This law drove 93% of registered medical marijuana patients out of the medical system, which created a single market with as many as 27 different pharmacies in each city. Many patients gave up the system and returned to the black market, but this legalization of recreational cannabis will enable them to regain their eligibility to purchase drugs legally.
The coronavirus pandemic also disrupted cannabis reforms in other states. This year, the campaign to legalize medical marijuana or adult cannabis in Missouri and Idaho has abandoned, and the legalization campaign in North Dakota seems to be doomed to failure.
But on the bright side, the two Oregon campaigns aimed at legalizing echinococcal adjuvant therapy and legalizing all drug possession have just successfully submitted enough signatures to qualify, while Washington DC’s Activists are working hard to reach the quota for the decriminalization of Pleurotus ostreatus.
This article isissued by Merry Jane.