State officials have announced that a petition drive to legalize and regulate marijuana in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot. 

Chris Furlong/Getty Images
Chris Furlong/Getty Images

The Maine Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the necessary 61,123 signatures to put the question up for a vote. This paves the way for the state Legislature to either vote to legalize marijuana or to send the issue to Maine voters this November.

In March, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in the group's favor. The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.

Dunlap’s office said in a statement Wednesday,“Seven circulators whose petition signatures were invalidated due to the notary signature of Stavros Mendros have submitted affidavits swearing under oath that they signed their petitions in front of Mendros as notary. Based on those sworn statements, Secretary Dunlap has now certified the 11,305 signatures collected by those circulators … [resulting] in a total of 62,848 valid signatures for this citizens’ initiative, which is above the minimum of 61,123.”

David Boyer of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said,  “It is time to replace the underground market with a regulated system of licensed marijuana businesses. It is time to redirect our state’s limited law enforcement resources toward addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition policies. And it is time to stop punishing adults for using a substance that is significantly less harmful than alcohol.”