Marijuana initiative activists say Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown is being too aggressive in tossing out petition signatures. One group filed a lawsuit Wednesday saying the rate of invalidated signatures will likely snuff out an initiative to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Supporters spent nearly half a million dollars trying to get the measure on the ballot. They needed 116,000 valid signatures. They turned in 176,000. But the Secretary of State said that still wasn't enough. The elections division disqualified nearly half the signatures in the group's first turn-in, and a second batch appears to fall short of what's needed to make up the gap. The lawsuit claims Brown is overstepping her authority by throwing out names for inconsequential reasons. Attorney Ross Day filed the suit on behalf of the petitioners.
Day: "There have been a number of rules and regulations implemented that have basically eviscerated the initiative in Oregon. And I think they've gone too far."
Elections director Steve Trout said he hasn't seen the lawsuit, but says the rules regarding petitions are very clear. A separate initiative to allow commercial cultivation of marijuana appears to have a better shot at making the Oregon ballot.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network
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