Marijuana Amendment Supporters Withdraw Measure for “Language Changes”


Yesterday we got news that a group of activists had submitted a petitions to be approved for circulation in support of a constitutional amendment to legalize the growth and use of marijuana and to mandate state-backed research into the same.

This morning, however, the group withdrew their measure.

The reason? “Language changes,” John Bailey, chairman of the committee backing the measure, told me in a phone call.

He wouldn’t say what changes are being contemplated. “I don’t care to comment on it,” he said when I asked. “That was a group decision. That’s how we do things.”

The Secretary of State’s office says the measure hasn’t officially been withdrawn just yet. “I did get a phone call saying that was what they were going to do,” Lee Ann Oliver, who works in the office’s elections division, told me. “We need something formally,” she added, saying they’re waiting on an email or a letter from the group finalizing the withdrawal.

Bailey said his group does plan to resubmit the measure.

As I noted yesterday, the language submitted to the Secretary of State’s office had some serious flaws, not least of which was a misspelling of “North Dakota.” 

Also, some of the folks on the sponsoring committee had some seriously ugly criminal records. I’m not talking about marijuana-related misdemeanors or speeding tickets. I’m talking about felonies, and at least one person who appears to have some active warrants from another state. Those things don’t preclude them from sponsoring a constitutional amendment, but they perhaps impede the group’s ability to make the case for legalizing marijuana.

When one of the chief arguments we hear from opponents of marijuana legalization is that it will lead to spikes in crime, having a sponsoring committee with a long criminal track record is hardly a plus.

I wonder if, in addition to language changes, we might also see some changes in personnel on the sponsoring committee.