Marijuana signatures come up short, supporters have 15 days to get more

Today, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced that the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol did not collect enough valid signatures to be placed on the ballot in November. Only another 2409 signatures are needed, however, and organizers have 15 days in which to collect the remaining signatures.

Altogether, the Secretary of State’s office certified 83,696 signatures out of the 86,105 needed to place a measure on the ballot this year. Organizers have until Feb. 21 to come up with 2409 more valid signatures. They expressed confidence today that they could do that.

Campaign leader Mason Tvert issued this statement via email:

Today’s news is unexpected, but it is really just a very small bump in the road on our journey to end the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition in the state. Fortunately, we started this signature drive in 2011 so that we would have the opportunity to cure any shortfall in our count. We now have 15 days to collect approximately 3,000 valid signatures. Given that we were able to collect an average of 3,000 valid signatures per week during the first six months, we are confident we will complete this process successfully and qualify the initiative for the ballot. Then, in November, the people of Colorado will help us tax and regulate marijuana and end the insanity of punishing adults who make the rational choice to use a substance less harmful than alcohol.

Today’s announcement follows one made January 19 by the Secretary of State’s office that because a random sampling of signatures turned in by initiative supporters indicated that the total number of valid signatures would likely be within 10 percent of the total number needed, a line by line verification of signatures was required under state law.

This measure would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. A second group is working on another initiative that would legalize marijuana without placing a limit on how much a person could have.

Image: Campaign supporter and attorney Brian Vicente speaks to the press the day the petitions were handed over to the Secretary of State. (Kersgaard)

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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