Repeal Montana Senate Bill 423, Medical Marijuana / Cannabis Act Reform Petition Signature Gathering Statistics Initiative Referendum 124: ALL of Montana
HELENA, August 1, 2011 – In just over two weeks, hundreds of volunteers throughout the state have collected more than 11,000 signatures for Initiative Referendum 124, the effort to place Senate Bill 423 on the November 2012 ballot, according to the petition sponsors.
“Our petition effort is succeeding because we have unbelievably dedicated volunteers and because so many people agree that any changes to our medical marijuana law should go to the voters first,” said Sarah Baugh, spokesperson for Patients for Reform – Not Repeal, which is organizing the referendum campaign. “Voters passed this law, and we should all have a say in what happens to it.”
Baugh continued, “Collecting signatures is hard work, and we are pleased with our progress to date. It will be a heroic effort by our volunteers to qualify this measure for the ballot. We might even be able to suspend the new law until Montanans can vote on it. We have momentum.”
In addition to crossing the threshold of 11,000 signatures as of July 31st, the petition campaign has begun turning in petitions to county officials for signature validation. So far, 2,500 signatures have been sent in. Within weeks, the campaign will have data on how many signatures are valid, and in which state house districts the measure is proceeding in. To qualify for the 2012 ballot, the petition needs at least 24,337 valid signatures from 34 different house districts.
According to Rose Habib, volunteer coordinator for Patients for Reform – Not Repeal, over 400 volunteers have been trained and are collecting signatures throughout Montana.
“Our volunteers have been fantastic,” said Habib, “they are dedicating their free time, time away from their families, to talk to thousands of Montanans about this petition. We are pleased with the voter support we are getting. We have 60 days, until September 30th, to gather another 60 to 70 thousand signatures from at least 50 plus house districts to suspend this awful law. This is a monumental effort that has only been done one time before in Montana, at a time when the rules and restrictions on petitioning were not as strict as those that are in place today.”
Montana’s laws on petitioning are rigorous, and organizers are taking precautions in training all volunteers to be sure they follow the law and don’t wind up wasting their own efforts by failing to complete necessary paperwork.
Baugh, the spokesperson for Patients for Reform – Not Repeal, said, “We can all agree that Montana needs effective regulation of medical marijuana, but SB 423 completely repeals what voters did, and replaces it with a new policy that won’t work at all, especially not for the state’s most severely ill patients. Ultimately, we believe voters will reject SB 423 and tell the Legislature to develop a better solution, one that will work for patients as well as for law enforcement and communities.”
To get more information, contact: patients4reform.org or 406-443-2692
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