Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced yesterday that a proposed ballot measure to legalize the use of marijuana will need a line-by-line review to verify the validity of all the signatures.
Supporters of marijuana legalization Initiative 30 turned in 163,598 signatures in early Jan. but the Secretary of State's office says that a random sample of the signatures showed that only roughly 50 percent of these were valid. Colorado state law requires that a random signature sample meet a certain threshold of validity or it triggers an automatic review.
The proposal only needed 86,105 signatures to get onto the ballot, but the office now has to review and verify all of the signatures by Feb. 3.
The "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol" initiative would be the first legalization measure on the 2012 ballot if approved.
Then, if approved by voters, the measure would make it legal for people over the age of 21 to use and possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and to grow up to six plants in their homes.
"This is just part of the process. We are confident that we collected more than enough valid signatures to make the ballot. This is why initiative campaigns collect so many more signatures than they need," organizer Mason Tvert told the Colorado Independent.
Tvert told KDVR that the first $40 million generated annually from the excise tax--if the measure is legalized--would go to Colorado’s public school construction fund.