AMR's Maine Initiative Fails to Qualify For 1998 Vote
Maine Secretary of State Dan Gwandosky said the petition drive to put a medical marijuana initiative on the November 1988 ballot did not have enough valid signatures. Petitioners needed 51,131 valid signatures to qualify the measure. Of the 68,330 signatures submitted, 16,842 were invalidated by municipal officials because they were duplicates or were from persons not registered to vote. Gwandosky said he expects Mainers for Medical Rights (MMR), the American for Medical Rights (AMR) affiliated group leading the signature-gathering effort, to appeal his decision to keep the initiative off the November 1998 ballot. MMR has time to collect additional signatures to qualify the measure for the November 1999 ballot. Gwandosky said some of the signatures appear to be forged, and some petitions may have been circulated by nonresidents and nonregistered voters. The attorney general's office is investigating the alleged violations (Associated Press, "Election Chief Rules Petitions Come Up Short," March 31, 1998) (see "Medical Marijuana Bills and Initiatives Update," NewsBriefs, February 1998; "Two Medical Marijuana Petitions Underway in Maine," NewsBriefs, January 1998).
Mainers for Medical Rights - Stephanie Hart, R.R. 4, Box 5375, Sidney, ME 04332, Tel: (207) 547-5031.