Medical Marijuana Petitioners Reach 24,000 Signatures

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Petitioners aiming to put medical marijuana reform on the 2012 ballot say they have gathered close to 24,000 signatures.

Fact is, that is enough to put the measure on the ballot. But organizers say they are after another 15,000 to allow for any possible discrepancies.

”I think everybody that’s been involved at this point has done an absolutely excellent job- giving up their time, volunteer, all this is, and everyone going out and hitting the streets” said petitioner and owner of Around the Clock Cannabis Rick Whatman, about the efforts so far. “Hittin’ different events, and taking away from their families and stuff and going out there to help all these other people.”

At the end of the 2011 session, state lawmakers passed strict new regulations on medical marijuana. Supporters say the law goes against the will of the people, and they want voters to decide the issue.

”We have to show the legislation system that we really do care about our right to vote, and that our vote does matter” said Whatman. “What we do vote on should stand ’til we change it as voters of Montana. And, anybody that’s out there needs to find a place to sign the petition.”

In addition to gathering signatures at events around town, Whatman said he always has the forms out at his shop for patients to sign, and has even traveled to disabled signees who could not come to him. His efforts are all in hopes hopes of getting enough signatures before the September deadline.

”I hope that a month from now, we turn in one hundred thousand signatures, so we can squash this SB 423 Bill” he said. “To show the legislation system what we really do care about, and that we are an organized crew.”

Petitioners need a total of 24,337 approved signatures from 34 different state house districts. They have until September 30th to turn in signature sheets.