Tuesday, March 15, 2016

99,000 signatures for Maine marijuana legalization, but government tosses half

Court to decide fate of Maine marijuana legalization question — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine - Michael Shepherd:

March 10, 2016 - "Backers of a marijuana legalization effort disqualified last week by the Maine secretary of state’s office sued the state on Thursday, saying the decision should be overturned.

"The dispute centers on more than 17,000 signatures that were tossed out by Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and notarized by Stavros Mendros, the president of Olympic Consulting, a Lewiston signature-gathering firm....

"Those signatures were among the nearly 48,000 of more than 99,000 signatures collected by referendum proponents that were invalidated by Dunlap’s office last week. Just over 61,000 signatures were needed to get the question on the ballot.

"The lawsuit on behalf of a group of petition signers was filed in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon. It says that Dunlap’s office acted outside its authority and asks the court to reverse the office’s decision to toss out nearly 27,000 signatures notarized by Mendros.

"David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, the national group that managed the campaign effort, said of those, at least 17,000 are valid signatures. However, he said Dunlap’s office tossed them all.

"The lawsuit says that violated the office’s rules — which direct staff to use notary signature issues as a secondary reason to invalidate signatures — and that the office didn’t contact notaries before invalidating signatures....

"Mendros is a key, controversial figure in Maine’s signature-gathering industry: He worked on a much-criticized referendum proposal for a York County casino, which also was invalidated by Dunlap’s office last week."

Read more: https://bangordailynews.com/2016/03/10/politics/elections/court-to-decide-fate-of-maine-marijuana-legalization-question/
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