Maine used ‘improper’ standard to invalidate marijuana supporters’ signatures: judge rules

Maine used ‘improper’ standard to invalidate marijuana supporters’ signatures: judge rules

Marijuana advocates' effort to legalize the use of the recreational drug in Maine took a big leap forward on Friday when a judge overruled state officials' decision that invalidated some signatures required to get the initiative on the ballot.

Around a month ago, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap's office invalidated nearly half of the 99,229 voter signatures that were submitted by marijuana activists with the office.

The Secretary of State's office the signatures were invalidated the signatures on various forms submitted failed to match up with versions on files in official state records. The initiative was thus left without enough valid signatures to be placed on the ballot.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol challenged the Secretary of State's office's decision in the Maine Business and Consumer Court, and Justice Michaela Murphy yesterday ruled that the state used an "improper standard" to nullify the signatures.

David Boyer, campaign manager for the state's marijuana legalization initiative, said, "We're excited and look forward to educating Mainers. This is the easy part now."

The referendum would allow adults in Maine to legally possess marijuana, while levying a 10 per cent tax on recreational drug sales. Use of marijuana in public would remain illegal.

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