Supporters of Medical Marijuana Expect to Qualify for the November Ballot
June 16, 2016
HELENA – Initiative 182, Montana’s NEW Medical Marijuana Initiative, organized by Montana Citizens for I-182, announced today they will submit more than 40,000 signatures to county elections offices across the state by the deadline of 5pm Friday, June 17th.
“It is clear from the level of support throughout the state, Montanans want an accountable and responsible medical marijuana law,” said Morgan Marks, Field Director for I-182. “In 2004, Montana voters passed the first medical marijuana program for the state of Montana with 62% support. Now, we are going back to the voters so Montanans battling cancer and with other debilitating medical conditions may continue to receive the medicine they need.”
The Montana Constitution requires that a petition for an initiative receive 24,175 valid signatures from qualified Montana electors. County elections offices are processing I-182 petitions to confirm that signers are registered voters and match signatures with the ones on file. County election administrators have until July 15 to process the petitions and file the results with the Secretary of State.
“We have seen an outpouring of support for I-182,” said Jeff Krauss, former Mayor of Bozeman and treasurer of Montana Citizens for I-182. “Every day, for the last two months, we have heard stories of Montana citizens that want a medical marijuana program that is workable for all Montanans. We want sick people to have safe and reliable access to effective medicine, and that is why we have been working hard to make sure that I-182 is on the ballot this November.”
Montana Citizens for I-182 began signature gathering on April 20th, just 58 days before the deadline to submit signatures. In the past ten years, no other Montana citizen initiative has successfully qualified for the ballot in so few days.
“More than 40,000 Montanans signed the I-182 petition in less than 60 days, demonstrating that the people support Montana’s new medical marijuana initiative,” said Marks.
According to Marks, the campaign has intentionally gathered an excess of more than 16,000 signatures to make certain I-182 qualifies for the ballot. The campaign received a boost from more than 150 volunteers who helped gather signatures for the I-182 petition.
“Qualifying an initiative for the ballot is hard work and requires a lot of organization and commitment, especially with the short time we had,” said Marks. “Everyone involved in the campaign wants to thank the dedicated staff, volunteers and supporters for their time and support. Unless something changes, on August 31st access to medical marijuana will end until I-182 is passed by the voters in November. We are all working hard to make sure the impact of this change will be as limited as possible.”
The official announcement from the Montana Secretary of State’s office about qualification for I-182 may not come until mid-July, but having submitted nearly 40,000 signatures before Friday’s deadline, the campaign is confident the measure will qualify.