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Montana marijuana initiative group sues state to collect electronic signatures during pandemic

A group trying to legalize adult-use marijuana on Montana’s 2020 ballot is suing Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton over the state’s ban on electronic signature gathering due to the difficulty and danger of collecting in-person signatures during the coronavirus pandemic.

New Approach Montana filed its lawsuit in state court April 6, and is asking the court for an exemption to laws requiring that signatures to qualify ballot initiatives be gathered in-person, and to delay the deadline to submit signatures from June 19 to Aug. 3.

Political director for New Approach Pepper Petersen said Wednesday that while the group believes it could collect the necessary number of signatures in person to reach the ballot by the extant deadline, doing some comes with the risk of contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

“I don’t feel like we’re screwed, I just don’t feel like we could do it responsibly,” Petersen said.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs aren’t seeking to permanently change the signature-gathering process in Montana, but only to gain an exemption for New Approach for this election season, given the extraordinary circumstances presented by the pandemic. [Read more at Montana Free Press]

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