The controversial proposed recreational marijuana ballot initiative in Maine received 99,229 signatures but the Secretary of State shared last week that it could only verify 51,543 of them, meaning the initiative is 9,580 signatures shy of its goal. This leaves the driving force behind this campaign, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), scrambling to find a solution to this major road block.
If the proposed ballot initiative had been approved in the November election, Maine residents would have been allowed to keep six mature marijuana plants for personal use and those 21+ years old would have been legally allowed to purchase cannabis products at retail stores.
Campaign director David Boyer is “very disappointed” in the Secretary of State’s decision, one which he says can be blamed on a notary discrepancy.
“Based on documents they have provided, it appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures from registered Maine voters were excluded from the count because the signature of a single notary — whose notary commission has not expired — did not exactly match the signature the state has on file for that notary,” Boyer told High Times in an emailed statement. “We are exploring all legal means available to appeal this determination, and we sincerely hope that 17,000-plus Maine citizens will not be disenfranchised due to a handwriting technicality.”
CRMLA’s efforts has received much scrutiny, particularly from Maine’s medical marijuana industry. A vocal group protested recreational marijuana legalization when CRMLA delivered signed petitions to the Secretary of State’s office in Augusta, Maine last month.
Without this ballot initiative passing, Maine marijuana users (outside of the 17,274 registered MMJ patients) will continue to face large fines and jail time for possession. “This initiative will replace the underground marijuana market with a tightly controlled system of legitimate, taxpaying businesses that create good jobs for Maine residents,” Boyer commented to High Times. “It will also make Maine safer by allowing enforcement officials to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws.”
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