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The petitions for medical marijuana ballot initiative were formally approved Tuesday by the state, clearing the way for advocates to start gathering signatures in an attempt to postpone the tougher 2011 law and to let voters determine its fate next year.
Linda McCulloch, Montana’s Secretary of State, informed the sponsor of the effort, the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, that Attorney General Steve Bullock had determined the language of the petition to be legally sufficient.
The spokeswoman for the Cannabis Industry Association, Kate Cholewa, said that the first task of the group is to train their volunteers who will be collecting the signatures. “We want to get everyone trained and trained well,” she said. “There will be some petitions out on the street over the Fourth of July weekend. Everyone wants to do something to contribute, and this is certainly an opportunity.”
Meanwhile, a decision by Helena District Judge James Reynolds on the attempt of the Cannabis Industry Association to temporarily block the more restrictive new law from taking effect is expected to be handed down by Thursday. The new medical marijuana law, which was passed earlier this year is supposed to take effect on Friday.
Judge Reynolds said at the end of the three-day hearing last week that he expects to issue an order by Thursday, and a full decision later.
The association argued that the new law is unconstitutional and should be blocked temporarily.
The office of the state attorney general, which is mandated to defend the law, disagreed. Its lawyers, however, concede that there are sections in the law that may not meet constitutional requirements. Judge Reynolds had strongly hinted to the lawyers at the hearing that he may block temporarily certain sections of the law.