After a long time working towards the November ballot, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Massachusetts is finally able to turn in the signatures they have collected. This is the second round of signature collecting for the group, which started last year with collecting around 60,000 signatures in order for their initiative to be heard by legislators. When lawmakers failed to act on the initiative this past May, they started a second round of signature gathering to put their initiative on the ballot.
With their deadline just a few days away, the campaign was able to turn in 25,000 signatures this week. This is actually double the needed number of signatures, which is only 10,792. In almost all cases, campaigns need to gather more signatures than necessary as not all of them will belong to valid voters within the state – and others might not be legible enough to use in the first place. This time, however, I doubt the group has anything to worry about with as many additional signatures as they were able to get.
“We are confident we have the signatures needed to qualify for the ballot!” Organizers wrote earlier this June.
This statement from a few weeks ago shows that the group is extremely confident in their efforts – and they should be. They’ve had a lot of trouble lately, with two separate lawsuits filed in court this past month against the initiative, so having more than enough signatures is likely a relief for the group. Seeing as how they have decided to move forward with submitting their signatures, things must have gone relatively well for them in court.
The group has been trying to send their message for quite some time now – back in March they even launched a St. Patrick’s Day themed billboard, reminding people what the safer substance is while they are out drinking their green beers. Their focus from the beginning has been voter education – not only collecting signatures from those who already supported it, but hoping to change some minds along the way.
Considering the opposition to the campaign has been preparing for the fight for quite some time as well, this tactic was probably in their best interest. Trying to convince voters before there is even a negative whisper (aside from what people already think they “know” about marijuana) to sway their minds. Things are only going to get tougher for the group from this point forward, up until Election Day comes around and we find out whether or not the citizens of Massachusetts are prepared to become the next state to legalize adult use of marijuana.