Boost in tobacco tax, medical marijuana bring Montana ballot items to 7
July 16, 2004
Associated Press, Billings Gazette
HELENA (AP) - Initiatives to more than double the taxes on most tobacco products and legalize marijuana for medical purposes qualified for the November ballot Friday.
That brings to seven the number of initiatives and referendums that will go before voters in the fall general election.
The secretary of state's office said Friday it had certified 26,187 petition signatures to qualify the tobacco tax measure in 33 of 56 counties. The medical marijuana measure, known as I-148, had 22,059 certified signatures and qualified in 28 counties.
To get on the ballot, each initiative needed at least 20,510 signatures representing a minimum of 5 percent of the votes cast for governor in the 2000 election from at least 28 counties.
I-148 would allow Montanans to grow, possess and use limited amounts of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions and combat related pain, nausea, seizures and muscle spasms.
Patients could use marijuana, under medical supervision, to alleviate symptoms related to such diseases as cancer, glaucoma and AIDS.