New Approach Montana, the political campaign working to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in the state, announced the launch of a statewide signature drive starting this Saturday in support of two complementary marijuana legalization ballot initiatives.
“The ballot initiative process is an integral component of democracy for half of all the states,” said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project, which is supporting the campaign. “Campaigns across the country did the responsible thing by delaying and pausing signature drives earlier this year. But the economy is reopening, and now we have the opportunity to responsibly resume our efforts and give voters the opportunity to make important policy decisions at the ballot box this November,” Schweich continued.
The campaign is instituting a set of public health protocols to limit contact between circulators and petition signers, including wearing masks, providing single-use pens and gloves, supplying disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, and maintaining the six-foot distance requirement, among other measures. Joan Miles, a public health professional who served as the director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services under former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, reviewed the protocols and endorsed the campaign’s plan.
New Approach Montana is supporting two ballot initiatives this year. The first, I-190, is a statutory initiative that would legalize marijuana in Montana for adults and establish a regulatory framework for cultivation and sales. The second, CI-118, is a constitutional initiative that would set the legal minimum age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana at 21.
To qualify for the November 2020 ballot, the campaign must gather 25,468 signatures for I-190 and 50,936 signatures for CI-118. Under state law, all signatures must be submitted to county clerks by June 19.