MONTANA: Marijuana legalization advocates are dropping their efforts to put a voter initiative on the ballot this year amending the Montana Constitution to allow recreational use of the drug, an organizer said Tuesday.
Instead, the advocates plan to focus on the 2016 elections. That might give the measure a better chance, with a broader segment of the population voting in that presidential election compared with the turnout expected for the 2014 midterms, Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Chris Lindsey said.
The Montana Secretary of State’s Office last year cleared sponsors to gather signatures in their effort to put the proposed constitutional change on this year’s ballot. It would have given adults the right to buy, consume, produce and possess marijuana.
“Very early in the process we realized the timing wasn’t right, we weren’t going to have the resources necessary to make it happen,” Lindsey said. “If donors are going to put in their resources, they want to win.”
The threshold to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot is higher than an initiative to add or change a state law. For a constitutional initiative to qualify, backers must gather signatures from 10 percent of the total number of qualified voters in the state. Of that total, the signatures must come from 10 percent of the voters in each of the 40 state House districts.