Medical Marijuana Initiative Enters Final Week Activists Expect To Have Necessary Number Of Signatures

An initiative to legalize the medical use of marijuana appears to have the necessary number of signatures to place it on the November 1996 California ballot, reports Californians for Compassionate Use.

“When organizers across the state turned in their respective estimates … of signatures gathered for the Compassionate Use Initiative of 1996, the [total] came to over 500,000,” reported the CCU on April 12, one week before the deadline. The number needed to qualify the initiative for the 1996 ballot is 433,269.

Activists note that an additional 120,000 to 140,000 signatures were anticipated to have been gathered during the drive’s final week. Such a figure would be well over the amount needed to compensate for any errors or invalid signatures.

California’s medical marijuana initiative came about in response to Governor Pete Wilson’s decision to veto legislation passed by the California Legislature in 1995 that would have allowed for the medical use of marijuana. If the initiative is passed by California voters this fall, the bill will become law immediately and cannot be vetoed.

The 1996 initiative has been endorsed by the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and West Hollywood; the Santa Cruz and Marin Boards of Supervisors; the California Nurses Association; the Los Angeles AIDS Commission; the California Multiple Sclerosis Society; the Orange County Register, and many other health and community leaders and organizations.

For more information, please contact Dennis Peron of Californians for Compassionate Use at (415) 621-3986.