Marijuana question squeezes onto ballot

The campaign to legalize marijuana in Colorado is on, but just barely.

The proposed ballot question squeaked through the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Monday with just enough signatures of registered voters needed to be certified for the November ballot.

The effort initially turned in petitions with nearly 164,000 signatures in early January, nearly twice as many needed to qualify for the ballot.

The office determined, however, an initial count of the names would leave them short the needed 86,105 valid registered voters to make the ballot.

That means about half of the original signatures were invalid.

Generally, as much as a quarter of signatures gathered in most petition drives prove invalid.

But Secretary of State Scott Gessler gave the effort’s backers an opportunity to cure its petitions. They did, submitting another 14,000 signatures.

While about half of those names also proved not to be from valid registered voters, it still pushed the effort above the minimum number of signatures needed.

The initiative will appear on the ballot as Amendment 64.

The measure would allow for the legal possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana and six plants, and it calls on the Legislature to establish a regulatory scheme to create retail outlets similar to liquor stores to sell marijuana and set sales and excise taxes.


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