Signature Snafu May Doom Maine Marijuana Measure

The secretary of state rejected nearly half of the signatures submitted by the initiative's backers.


Regulate Maine

This week Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said a marijuana legalization initiative that was expected to be on the ballot in November did not qualify, falling 9,580 signatures short of the 61,123 it needed. The initiative's backers plan to appeal Dunlap's decision.

Last month the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which backs the initiative, submitted about 100,000 signatures. It says more than 17,000 were disqualified because Dunlap's office determined that the signature of a notary public did not match the one on file with the state. Petitition circulators must submit a notarized statement saying they personally witnessed the signatures they collected.

"We are very disappointed by the Secretary of State's determination," the campaign said. "Based on documents they have provided, it appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures from registered Maine voters were excluded from the count because the signature of a single notary—whose notary commission has not expired—did not exactly match the signature the state has on file for that notary. We are exploring all legal means available to appeal this determination, and we sincerely hope that 17,000-plus Maine citizens will not be disenfranchised due to a handwriting technicality."

David Boyer, the campaign's manager, told the Portland Press Herald the secretary of state's office is being overzealous. "For them to throw out every signature from this notary doesn't make sense to us," he said. "The signature on file and the ones on the petition look close. We're going to fight for these signatures."

Meanwhile, the anti-pot group SAM Maine is urging an investigation of the irregularities that led Dunlap to reject 48 percent of the signatures submitted by the legalization campaign. "With out-of-state organizations like the Marijuana Policy Project coming into our state trying to influence and change our laws," SAM Maine Director Scott Gagnon told the Press Herald, "it is paramount that these operations are held accountable if they violate ethics regulations." The Marijuana Policy Project is backing the Maine campaign along with legalization initiatives in four other states this year.

Kevin Sabet, SAM's national president, welcomed the signature snafu. "This represents a victory for public health over industry profits," he said. "Despite pouring money into Maine, it appears that the pot industry was unable to get enough real people to sign their petition. The fact that almost a full 50 percent of the signatures were invalidated casts a cloud over the entire legalization movement in the state."

In 2013 Public Policy Polling found that 48 percent of Maine voters supported legalization, while 39 percent were opposed and the rest were undecided. It seems likely that support is higher now. The latest Gallup poll found that 58 percent of Americans think marijuana should be legal.

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  1. the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

    With an acronym like CRMLA, no wonder they failed. Why not CAmpaign to RegulAte Marijuana Ethanol-Like? Everybody loves CARAMEL!

    1. Because the voters are too stupid to know what ethanol is.

      1. What difference does it make when you have a rad acronym?

    2. because there is no second ‘A’?

      /runs from room

  2. “This represents a victory for public health over industry profits,” he said.

    What the fuck does that mean?

    1. It means it’s time to outlaw alcohol, bacon, and sugary drinks.

    2. It’s language used to try to appeal to the stupid populace, and it sounds like a more valid argument than, “Weed is icky me no like.”

      1. “Capitalism is icky me no like” is apparently valid enough. We live in the age of Bernie indeed.

        1. I don’t understand how people can think of good products they like and are willing to buy as evil.

    3. More like a victory for the public health industry.

      1. And the prison-industrial complex.

    4. It means that SAM thinks that painting their opponents as cynical opportunists just trying to make a buck is a winning strategy. Stupid bullshit that makes no sense does seem to appeal to a lot of people.

    5. They’re scaremongering over theoretical profits of an industry that doesn’t even legally exist.

    6. It appears to me that they have no problem when they lie and disqualify signatures, done by people who have every reason to make sure every signature is legal! The people who rejected these are the ones I would question! Did they talk to the person who was responsible for notarizing it? Or did they just reject it because the notary has a variable signature? I know mine can look different according to the time of the day I might sign it! I would have lawyers looking into the behavior of the “officials”!

  3. I’m a notary. My signature never looks the same. I never practiced to have a consistent signature. I just try to write my name as quickly as possible because signing stuff is boring as fuck.

    1. Clearly, we need notaries to certify the signatures of other notaries.

  4. “Despite pouring money into Maine, it appears that the pot industry was unable to get enough real people to sign their petition. The fact that almost a full 50 percent of the signatures were invalidated casts a cloud over the entire legalization movement in the state.”

    So if those signatures get accepted later after determining that the notary signature was in fact them, then this politician is going to apologize to those he deemed imaginary people, right?

  5. did the governor’s signature on the law prohibiting mj match exactly to within .0000001 electrons all of his previous signatures?

  6. This should be super-easy to clear up. The notary should need to do nothing more than certify under oath that they did in fact notarize those signatures.

    The fact that Dunlop isn’t taking this route tells me the fix is in. Sucks to be you, Maine. I imagine a supply of bud would be a real help in getting through your winters.

    If this sticks, the funpot folks should target Dunlop in the next election (Assuming Maine elects the Secretary of State – some states do).

    1. That’s what I was thinking. Seems like the obvious first thing to do in a case like this is to ask the notary if he signed the thing or not.

      I think that Mainers already have about as much bud as they want, so they’ll probably make it through the winter OK.

      1. A lot of woods with few people. In vermont I found a few fields while wondering the woods. Mostly small crops, family and friends sized.

    2. My first thought was that Maine’s Secretary of State probably isn’t a hand-writing expert and has no qualifications to make the determination he did.

    3. Exactly, it’s not like notaries aren’t auditable on top of that…

  7. Uh. I prefer to regulate it like tomatoes.

    1. And alcohol as well.

        1. I’ll stick with bloody Marys.

  8. “It says more than 17,000 were disqualified because Dunlap’s office determined that the signature of a notary public did not match the one on file with the state.”

    Um, on something as important as whether an initiative qualifies for a ballot, why wouldn’t they just check with the notaries? I don’t imagine there were more than a handful involved.

    1. Because that would risk actually allowing the matter to go forward instead of being wilfully bureaucratic and obstructionist.

      Pettifoggers gotta pettifogger.

  9. Well, I hope that somebody questions the Governor’s signature on the pardon when Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is someday imprisoned.

  10. So I assume the state is busy checking the notary signatures of every deed in the county recorder offices, right? Who knows how many invalid transfers are out there!!!11!

  11. Home income source by collider.. I’m making over $5k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they ZG can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.
    This is what I do,

  12. Kevin Sabet and SAM are people trying to tell you how to live, they think if you live in Main you are to stupid to make up your own minds.

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