Legalization backers in Maine keep hope alive

The recreational cannabis campaign in Maine has formally filed suit against the secretary of state, alleging that the office did not review every notary signature he invalidated when he disqualified the group’s recreational legalization initiative last week, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Attorney Scott Anderson, who represents the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said Secretary of State Michael Dunlap reviewed only some of the notaries’ signatures, and then invalidated all the petitions signed by those notaries.

Anderson also accused Dunlap of failing to contact the campaign about the signatures, and believes had he done so, any signature confusion could have been cleared up then.

“Although there is variability from signature to signature, we believe they match as much as required,” Anderson said at a press conference Thursday.

The campaign needed 61,123 signatures and turned in 99,229 on Feb. 1. But only 51,543 were valid, Dunlap ruled.

About 17,000 signatures were invalidated because the signature of notary Stavros Mendros did not match the signature the state had on file for Mendros. The campaign paid Mendros’ company, Olympic Consulting, almost $27,000 to collect signatures, the Press Herald reported.

Mendros pleaded guilty to petition irregularities in 2007, and did not respond to a request for comment by the Press Herald.