Maine Judge Reverses State Decision to Keep Marijuana Legalization Off Ballot

The effort to legalize marijuana in Maine appears to be back from the dead.

On Friday, a judge reversed Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s decision to invalidate thousands of signatures needed to qualify a legalization initiative for the November ballot.

Last month Dunlap threw out a large batch of voter signatures because, he said, the signatures of a single notary on the petitions did not match the one on file with the state.

As a result, the cannabis initiative did not have enough valid signatures to meet the threshold of 61,123 needed to qualify.

Advocates behind the initiative sued, asking the courts to overturn the decision.

Justice Michaela Murphy agreed, ruling that state officials did not actually review every petition in question.

The requirement that a notary’s signature on petitions must exactly match the one on file is “vague, subjective, and unduly burdens this unique and fundamental right” for citizens to petition, Murphy wrote.
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