The reason I did that is because of the march against hate that was taking place.
The main goal of that march is to raise awareness that Syrian refugees aren’t bad and that Montana is a welcoming place with intelligent people.
I figured many of these folks would be willing to sign the petition to legalize marijuana in Montana.
So I headed down.
I headed downtown around 4 PM and parked by the library.
The march was at 5 PM but I headed down early because I had to go to the Missoula County Courthouse to notarize my legislative candidate filing form.
I was happy I went down there – I learned a lot.
For instance, you can submit the signature forms before you have 25 sheets, and at least here in Missoula, they would prefer you do it that way.
Talking with the elections woman in the office, I was told that they are really backed up.
More than 18,000 Marcy’s Law signatures have come in, though it’s probably more than that.
I was told that black ink is the best to use and that it’s really important to get that address and legible printed name.
Besides that, if a few signatures are wrong, the whole page will not be invalidated. The rest of the signatures will be fine.
After I learned that I went out to Higgins Avenue and walked up and down gathering signatures.
I figure I got about 15 to 20 this way, just going up to people and saying one of the following:
- Would you like to help legalize marijuana in Montana?
- Have you signed the initiative to legalize marijuana in Montana yet?
- Would you like to support marijuana legalization in the state?
- Have you hard about the marijuana initiative?
Either the person got interested and stopped to sign or they kept on walking by.
Either way, I thanked them and then moved on.
For those that signed, I told them to write their name, date, home address, and printed name.
I went ahead and told many the facts of how many signatures are required, what the law is and does, and the taxation issues around it.
I told a lot of people that we hope to use this 20% tax to benefit schools. Many laughed at that, saying the Lottery had said the same.
When it got close to 5 PM I headed to the XXXs, and boy, a lot of others were doing the same.
A woman on the microphone told people the general process, that they’d walk down the sidewalks following the traffic rules and then meet at Caras Park.
I went around and asked people to sign the petition. Some didn’t but many did.
As the people began marching down the sidewalks I was at the back of the crowd, letting people sign.
I started to walk up the west side of Higgins, getting people to sign. Outside the Iron Horse I got up on the bike rack and shouted out that I had the marijuana legalization initiative. I got a few signatures out of that.
I continued on, going back to the east side of the street. I saw a news camera crew talking with some guy that looked to have an anti-refugee sign.
I asked him to sign and he did. He didn’t have any interest in the taxation measure, however.
By that point I’d gone halfway down Higgins. I kept asking people to sign, all while holding out my clipboard for people to see.
After that I got to Caras Park. Wow, there were a lot of people!
When I asked a woman gathering signatures at the XXXs – she was gathering them to send to the State Department to support the refugees – she told me that 300 to 400 people were there.
When I asked a few people down at Caras park I heard numbers in the 500 to 700 people range.
Either way, it was packed.
I stayed at the edge of the gathering, going around and getting my signatures.
- For the most part, the mayor spoke about his grandparents coming over and not speaking English.
- We had a Jewish rabbi woman talking about tolerance and how good Missoulians are.
- There was a Muslim man that spoke about the oppressed people of the Missoula Valley and their history.
So lots of talking and people holding signs and candles. I’m not sure what will be done.
- Personally, I’d like to see some hard numbers on who is paying for resettlement, what it’ll cost, and how long that support has to continue.
- I’d like assurances on security and for more families to come than young men.
- Mainly, I’d just like more questions answered.
It’s great that we’re concerned about the Syrian War and the refugees it creates, but we need to use rationality and logic and a clear head to look at this from all sides.
I love helping people – I give to several charities each month – but I know we have lots of problems right now in Missoula as well.
So it’s a tough issue. I was glad to see a lot of tolerance and respect and getting-along today.
I was also glad to get so many signatures.
For CI-115, the constitutional initiative to legalize marijuana, I got 7 pages for Missoula and another page with six signatures.
So that’s 76 signatures for one day, though a few are from other counties. A couple weren’t filled out properly either.
I got real busy standing by the stairs to the Higgins Bridge as the rally ended.
For a few minutes I had the clipboard, my green folder, and a book of Marvel superhero stickers going around. All allowed people a backboard to fill out those forms.
I ran out of ink in about two pens. Overall I had six to seven pens and that was short when things got busy.
So I’m quite pleased with the results of my first day of signature gathering.
When it came to I-178 to tax marijuana sales at 20%, I didn’t do as well.
I got 18 signatures there. Many people did not want to sign that after signing the first initiative.
After awhile I just stopped bothering with it, especially when things got busy or when people at the event were speaking.
Since we need a lot more signatures for the main marijuana legalization initiative, I didn’t feel too bad about this.
I also gave out one voter registration form, which the young woman was happy about and which she wanted to send in herself.
On top of this I got 3 signatures for Ravalli County. I think I’ll have to drive down that way at some point and get a few more.
Maybe you’d like to do the same in your area.
Information on the Montana Marijuana Legalization Effort
Another helpful resource for news is the Montana Cannabis Information Association, which is a page on Facebook.
We know from a detailed post on Logicosity today that, should the initiative process succeed, marijuana would be legal in Montana on July 1, 2017.
The initiative, however, says January 1, 2017.
It could be a hard-fought battle. A MSU-Billings poll from last November showed that 45% of people opposed legalization and just 16% support it.
The good news is that polls like that typically ask just a few hundred people.
For the most part, old, wealthy, and cranky individuals will vote against this. Republicans will vote against it.
That sucks, as turnout in November – should Trump continue – will favor them. We know Hillary can’t turn out voters to save her life, as we’ve seen in the primaries already and which I’ll profile again late tonight or tomorrow.
We know from calls to the Secretary of State that 484 signatures are required in 40 legislative districts to legalize marijuana.
An additional 242 signatures will be needed in those 40 districts to put 20% of all sales revenue from marijuana for schools.
All told, that means we need 48,349 signatures to legalize marijuana in Montana and 24,175 signatures to tax it.
That is extremely doable, especially considering that signature gatherers say they have 5,000 to 8,000 signatures.
Forms will be submitted to the Secretary of State this week. Voter registration forms are rolling in too – 20 in Yellowstone County in one gathering session, for instance.
Signatures have to be in by June 17.
Provider Announcement from the Montana Cannabis Network
The clerk of the Supreme Court will officially file the ruling against us on March 10th.
We will then have 2 weeks to appeal the decision, during which time business will continue as normal.
The MTCIA will be appealing the decision back to the lower court, but this will most likely NOT postpone the ruling going into effect.
At this time we are recommending all providers be ready to be in compliance with the updated law on March 25th.
The DPHHS will be contacting providers after March 10th to lay out the process for the changes to take place.
The MTCIA's ballot initiative will be out of the Secretary of State's office within the month.
M+R is ready to begin assisting our campaign and fundraising is well underway.
We are encouraging all who want to be involved or help to do the following:
1. Donate! If every patient in the state gave just $5, and every provider gave $10 for each of their patients, for the next 3 months, we would more than meet out goals.
2. Sign up to volunteer! Go to MTCIA.org and fill out the volunteer section under the "Get Involved" tab. We will send you info to get you ready to collect signatures
I just saw that the latest gubernatorial campaign finance reports are now available.
I’ll post this and get right into those, giving you the detailed analysis you expect.
Thanks for reading!