Activists in Montana filed a ballot initiative over the weekend that would legalize marijuana in the state if it is approved at the polls in 2014.
Ballot Issue #1, as the Secretary of State’s office labeled it, would strike all criminal penalties for marijuana cultivation, distribution and use, making such activities “subject to reasonable limitations, regulation, and taxation.”
If that sounds familiar, it should: earlier this year, an initiative with the exact same wording failed to qualify for Montana’s 2012 ballot after organizers came up nearly 30,000 signatures short on their petition drive.
The initiative’s sponsor, medical marijuana patient Barb Trego, told The Billings Gazette that her group simply didn’t have enough time to gather signatures. “We just got going too late,” she said.
Encouraged by legalization victories in Colorado and Washington, Trego isn’t waiting until 2014 to get to work.
Still, Montana state law prohibits signature gathering more than a year out from any given election, so efforts to leverage the initiative onto the ballot won’t begin in earnest until mid-way through next year.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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