Medical marijuana measure on ballot
A medical marijuana measure is on the ballot–Ballot Measure 1–and state officials say not only the proposal, but how people are to vote on the measure, is likely to be confusing to voters. In addition, the wording of the original Initiative 65, plus a legislature-authored alternate, labeled Alternate 65A, muddles both measures.
Basically, if you favor the use of marijuana being dispensed for medical purposes by doctors and medical personnel you would vote first to “approve either,” then move to the second question on the ballot which asks the voter to vote for either Initiative 65 or Alternate 65A. Either of the two legalizes medical marijuana, although there are differences in oversight.
If you do not favor the use of marijuana for treatment of certain illnesses, you would mark a vote of “against both” on the ballot.
Initiative 65 got on the ballot as an indirect initiated constitutional amendment, a process put in place by past lawmakers allowing the public more access in the lawmaking process by submitting a petition with a required number of signatures to have a measure filed with the legislature to be put before voters.
The Medical Marijuana 2020 campaign gathered over 214,000 signatures, validating almost 105,700 back in 2019, enough to allow the initiative to be filed with the legislature.
Under the indirect initiative process, the legislature had three options: (a)adopting the initiative by a majority vote in the House and Senate; (b) to reject the initiative; or (c)to place an alternative on the ballot alongside the original.
However, regardless of whether the legislature took the “(b) option” and rejected it, the proposed measure would still go to the ballot and before voters for their decision.
As a result, the Legislature passed Alternate 65A, and the two appear on the ballot.
Voting for Initiative 65 supports approving the medical marijuana amendment as provided by Initiative 65, which would allow medical marijuana treatment for more than 20 specified qualifying conditions, allow individuals to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at one time, and tax marijuana sales at the current state sales tax rate of 7%.
Voting for Alternative 65A supports approving the legislature’s alternative medical marijuana amendment, which would restrict smoking marijuana to terminally ill patients; require pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products and treatment oversight by licensed physicians, nurses, and pharmacists; and leave tax rates, possession limits, and certain other details to be set by the legislature.
If the story of how the two measures arrived on the ballot doesn’t boggle the mind just a bit, the voting process for Ballot Measure 1 will likely add even more confusion, especially to voters who have not familiarized themselves with each of the initiatives and made up their minds how they will vote on Nov. 3.
Voters will be asked first to vote for “approval of either,” or “against both,” and will mark the ballot with their choice.
Voting “for approval of either” signifies that the voter wants either Initiative 65 or Alternative 65A to pass, thereby allowing the use of medical marijuana by qualified patients. The voter must then proceed to the second question to choose their preferred version.
Voting “against both” signifies that the voter wants neither Initiative 65 nor Alternative 65A to pass.
After answering the first question, the voter can then proceed to the second question. A voter who chose “either” for the first question must answer the second question in order for their ballot to be valid. A voter who answered “neither” to the first question may choose to answer the second question or not. If you voted “neither” you have the option to vote “for” Measure 65 or “for” Measure 65A as a preferred version in the event the “either” option gets more votes.
If there are more votes for “either” in the first question, the version that receives majority approval–Measure 65 or 65A– in the second question is enacted, provided it receives approval from at least 40% of the ballots cast at the election.