AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine election officials say proposals to legalize marijuana and create another casino in southern Maine have failed to meet the threshold for the November ballot.
The secretary of state’s office says supporters for both efforts failed to deliver enough valid signatures.
State officials on Wednesday also announced they had approved a third initiative that would boost funding for schools.
The secretary of state’s office says supporters of the casino delivered 91,294 total signatures, but only 35,518 were valid.
Officials say supporters of the effort to legalize marijuana were about 9,500 signatures below the minimum requirement.
This is a huge sigh of relief for Mainers and our public health community, especially in a period where we are facing a serious and growing opiate crisis,” stated SAM Maine Director, Scott M. Gagnon. “The last thing we needed amidst an addiction crisis is increased access and availability to drugs. We are pleased that the Big Marijuana agenda will not be allowed to disrupt our efforts to protect and improve the health of Mainers and Maine communities.”
Dr. Kevin Sabet, President of SAM added, “This represents a victory for public health over industry profits. 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% of the signatures were invalidated casts a cloud over the entire legalization movement in the state.”
Statement from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol:
“We are very disappointed by the Secretary of State’s determination. 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.”