Montana cannabis activists recently declared they will move forward with gathering signatures for a cannabis legalization initiative. Moreover, the initiative will attempt to protect the current cannabis industry from the coronavirus pandemic. The group behind the measure--New Approach Montana-- is behind two different measures.
Their statutory initiative would help establish an adult use regulated market, while their proposed constitutional amendment stipulates that only those 21 and older can participate in the market.
Forced into quarantine by coronavirus, the new measure would have allowed for signatures to be added digitally, while extending the deadline to submit the petition. However, a Montana Judge dismissed the case last month since the state will gradually be reopening. New Approach Montana will persist by collecting signatures in person while following social distancing safety protocols.
Montana cannabis activists circulating the petition must wear disposable gloves and use single-use pens to avoid contamination. Masks must be worn at all times, except when petitioners are on break. Hand sanitizer and disinfectants will be provided and everyone must maintain a six feet minimum distance from one another. This plan goes as far as to set up tables six feet apart from petitioners and potential signees so they can witness signatures.
The submitted plans were considered satisfactory by Joan Miles, a former director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The procedures put in place will surely help them maintain public health. Despite meeting health guidelines, the road ahead remains difficult.
The petition still needs 25,000 signatures from registered voters for the statutory legalization measure and 51,000 more for their constitutional amendment. While the court ruling certainly lends no help in denying the collection of signatures digitally, the Montana cannabis activists pushing the petition are proving very determined to make their state the next legalize adult-use cannabis.