by Phillip Smith
They're back. Although a late effort to get on the ballot this year fell short, Montana marijuana activists are determined to get on the ballot in 2014, and just 10 days after the election, they submitted the first 2014 ballot question received by the secretary of state's office.
The constitutional initiative is proposed by East Helena medical marijuana advocate Barb Trego and lists as contact person Chris Lindsay, former partner in Montana Cannabis and now a convicted federal marijuana offender for his efforts.
The language of the 2014 initiative is not yet on file with the secretary of state's office, but it is said to mirror this year's failed CI-110, which would have amended the state constitution so that "adults have the right to responsibly purchase, consume, produce, and possess marijuana, subject to reasonable limitations, regulations, and taxation. Except for actions that endanger minors, children, or public safety, no criminal offense or penalty of this state shall apply to such activities."
To qualify for the ballot, initiative organizers must obtain the signatures of 10% of qualified voters, as well as 10% of qualified voters in each of the state's 40 legislative House districts. It's not clear yet what the exact numbers are -- they are based on this month's election results -- but this year, organizers needed about 45,000 signatures and came up with only 19,000.
This next time around, organizers will have the benefit of more time. They will also have the benefit of the examples of successful legalization initiatives this year in Colorado and Washington.