Montana adult-use marijuana advocates sue to collect ballot signatures digitally

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Backers of a recreational marijuana legalization campaign in Montana are taking the state to court for the right to collect signatures electronically during the coronavirus crisis.

The group, New Approach Montana, also is requesting that the deadline for submitting signatures be extended from June 19 to August 3, according to Helene TV station KTVH.

The suit, filed in Lewis and Clark County District Court, reflects a push by ballot initiative proponents in many states for digital signature collection. It’s unclear how many states eventually will allow the electronic process.

Nationwide, medical and recreational marijuana ballot measures have stalled because of stay-at-home and social-distancing orders stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Cannabis industry experts believed in January that the Montana proposal had a relatively good chance to make the ballot and pass.

Under the initiative, the Montana Department of Revenue would regulate a commercial adult-use marijuana industry and impose a retail sales tax of 20% on adult-use products.

New Approach must collect at least 25,468 valid signatures for the measure to be placed on the November ballot.