Medical Marijuana Utah

A group in Idaho is working on a renewed effort to get a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in 2020.

Backers of a proposed medical marijuana initiative filed a new version with the state on Tuesday, after their earlier one drew withering criticism in an Idaho attorney general’s review, but it turned out they were short of the 20 valid signatures needed to restart the process.

“They have been informed,” Lisa Power, state election director for the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, said Wednesday. More than 20 were turned in, Power said, but fewer than 20 were valid, which means they match records for current Idaho registered voters, including current addresses.

“This attempt really looks good as far as form,” Power said. “They are, as far as I know, trying to remedy the situation.”

James Piotrowski, whose Boise law firm is representing the new group of petitioners, said, “Our small group of activists is scrambling to get that done.”

They were three valid signatures short, he said Wednesday. “As I understand it, if we get them three more valid signatures today, they’ll go ahead and process it.” If not, they’ll start over and turn in 20 valid ones within the next few days, he said. “This is the easy part of the process, actually. Getting the 55,000 signatures is going to be the hard part.”

To make the November 2020 general election ballot, the initiative backers would need to collect signatures from 55,057 registered Idaho voters — 6% of those who were registered to vote in the November 2018 election. The final tally must include 6% of registered voters in at least 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts. Those would be due by April 30, 2020.

You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Thursday's Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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