Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, Question 3 (2012)

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The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative may appear on the 2012 ballot in the state of Massachusetts as an indirect initiated state statute. The measure would legalize the use of medical marijuana in the state. The initiative is being backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, among others, including the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance. The initiative was filed with proponents turning in the required 10 signatures to the Massachusetts Attorney General's office by the August 3, 2011 deadline. Those 10 signatures were needed for the required ten qualified voters that draw up and sign the original petition to put forward the full text of the law they want enacted. The proposal was filed as Petition Number 11-11.[1]


The following is information obtained from the supporting side of the ballot measure:

Path to the ballot

Each of the ten original signers of the proposed measure must obtain certificates of voter registration from the board of registrars or election commission in the city or town where they are registered voters. The certificate of voter registration must be signed by at least three registrars. These certificates and the original petition must then be submitted to the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Once the petition is found acceptable, the Attorney general will prepare a summary and return it and the petition to the petitioners, who must file the petition and summary with the Massachusetts Secretary of State.

Once that is submitted, petitions are printed and circulation can begin.

Circulation and submission

Backers must have collected 68,911 signatures by November 23, 2011 and turn them into local registrars. Signatures were filed by that deadline, according to reports, by supporters. Validated signatures were then returned to supporters, who had until the December 7, 2011 petition drive deadline to turn those signatures in to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office. Supporters turned in those signatures by the deadline.[2]

Those signatures were deemed valid, leaving the proposed law to be sent to the Massachusetts General Assembly for consideration.

The proposal was filed with the Massachusetts Legislature by Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin as signatures were verified before the start of 2012.[3]

If the general assembly does not choose to make the proposal a law, supporters must then gather additional signatures to obtain ballot access. Those signatures must be obtained from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and supporters must submit them to local clerks.

Validated signatures must then be turned in by the first Wednesday of July to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office. Since the deadline falls on a national holiday, July 4, that deadline could be either July 3 or 5.[4]

See also