By Phillip Smith
Montana residents will have a chance to vote on medical marijuana in November, but not on legalization. In a Friday statement, Secretary of State Linda McCullough announced that the medical marijuana initiative, IR-124 would be on the general election ballot (even though it had been a done deal since late last year), but that the constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana, CI-110, had failed to qualify.
]According to the secretary of state's office, CI-110 handed in fewer than 18,000 valid signatures. It needed more than 48,000 by the Friday deadline to make the ballot.
"None of the other issues appear to have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot," McCulloch said as she announced that IR-124 and an unrelated measure had qualified. "We will continue to tabulate all certified signatures, and the totals at the ime of qualification will be certified to the governor and released publicly next week."
"We didn't make it," said Barb Trego of East Helena, CI-110's sponsor. "We just ran out of time. We just got going too late," she told the Missoulian.
Trego said the CI-110 backers had to change the proposal's language at least three times because of objections by state officials. That delayed their signature-gathering efforts.
"We're not giving up," she said. "When we do it the next time, we'll be more prepared. We already have the language."
The failure of CI-110 to make the ballot means the final tally of states where marijuana reform initiatives will be on the November ballot is three: Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.