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Maine Court Rules In Favor Of Marijuana Initiative Supporters


portland maine marijuana legalizationA Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled on Friday that state officials may have improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on a proposed ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Justice Michaela Murphy found that state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The Secretary of State’s Office must now review all of the disputed petitions and place the initiative on the November ballot if it determines enough valid signatures were collected.

On March 2, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap informed the campaign that its proposed initiative did not qualify for the November ballot. 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters were required, and state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures. In a document explaining his determination, the secretary of state said his office invalidated more than 5,000 petitions, which included more than 26,000 total petition signatures, solely due to its finding that the signature of a single notary did not “match” the signature the state has on file. On March 10, supporters of the initiative filed a lawsuit challenging the decision.

Statement from David Boyer, campaign manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol:

“We are extremely pleased with the court’s decision to send our initiative back to the secretary of state for re-review. As was the case when we submitted our signatures to the secretary of state originally, we know that a sufficient number of registered voters signed the petition to qualify for the ballot. So this re-review should now be a mere formality. Once the Secretary of State’s Office has completed its work, we look forward to launching the formal part of our campaign and educating Maine voters about the benefits of regulating marijuana like alcohol.”

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is supporting a 2016 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateMaine.org.


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Johnny Green


  1. PeedNUrGenePool on

    So these state officials committed a crime….violating the constitutional rights of over 17,000 citizens, AND violating their Oath of Office.

    When are charges going to be filed? When is a special prosecutor going to be appointed to investigate the actions of Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap? When are 17,000 citizens going to get JUSTICE?

    The MJ Campaign should publicize the criminal acts of state officials, and press for JUSTICE.

    When state officials are allowed to get away with crimes against Marijuana, it tells other Prohibitionist Officials in other states that they’re free to violate their citizens rights.
    CRIMES against MARIJUANA need to STOP! They are killing people, and they are destroying lives.

    Officials that commit these crimes need to be prosecuted. After all, what will they lie about next?

  2. Gail Irvin Knight on

    Any patient, caregiver or grower realizes this is the demise of the freedoms we have here when big industrial mafiosa shows up and corrupts this state like it has been corrupted over and over. Prices will go up, quality will go down and NY will have the medicine….

  3. Sharon Taulbee on

    Wondering if they’ll say the same thing that one guy from Responsible Ohio said after they were defeated trying to set up a monopoly cartel in my state…..he said that he”thought Ohio was more stupid than that”….admittedly this is not a direct quote however he did think we were stupid enough to pass it….predatory asshole….lol….this coming from a guy that thought Buddy the marijuana bud headed mascot was a good idea….wow….

  4. Huge Problems with this initiative:
    it only allows 100 commercial growers with a state wide canopy issuance cap. (creates the new maine recreational cannabis cartel)
    also, it does not allow people to create and sell seed or run a nursery.

  5. It’s still just a bit too early to toss our hats in the air. But it looks good.

    Maine’s Secretary of State, Matthew Dunlap, legally has three days to decide how his office will proceed. So we might be able to celebrate by next Friday. But not yet — he may not let this ruling be the end of it. He may appeal the court decision. Or he may attempt to side-step the judge’s decision by trying to invalidate a sufficient number of signatures for reasons other than the single notary’s signature.

    I doubt he’ll be able to “side-step” the ruling and hunt for other reasons to toss the voter signatures in question. Of the 26,779 voter signatures notarized by the one notary, 9,541 were invalidated for reasons OTHER than that single notary’s signature. That leaves 17,238 signatures that were invalidated solely because of the notary’s signature not matching. Because 9,541 voter signatures of that 26,779 were invalidated for those *other* reasons, I strongly suspect Dunlap’s office would have invalidated *even more* than 9,541 signatures if they could have justified the mass-invalidation on stronger grounds than the paper-thin assertion that a notary’s signature should always match perfectly.

    Honestly, the Secretary of State should have known better than to try tossing the signatures on a handwriting technicality because there was legal precedent set in a very similar case in Maine back in 2009 in which the notary in question gave a reasonable explanation (and samples of variations of her signature) as evidence.

    Put simply, if the Secretary of State COULD have invalidated more than 9,541 voter signatures on stronger grounds, then he WOULD have already. Thus, I fully expect his office to back down. Otherwise, Dunlap’s office will scramble (in vain) to invalidate at least 9,580 of the 17,238 voter signatures they invalidated the first time solely based on the notary’s signature — only this time, for *other* reasons.

  6. Maine is a lost cause. Theres been no new support for legalization in years while Kevin Sabet persuades millions of voters. Better to forfeit and keep legalization off the ballot than suffer an embarrassing loss to Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

  7. This makes me very happy. Before 2017 at least one New England state will pass legalization, and it’s great to see Maine back in the race.

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