Colorado pot activists try again on legalization ballot |

Colorado pot activists try again on legalization ballot

Kristen Wyatt
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Marijuana legalization activist Josh Kappel. left, and Steve Fox, center, present signatures to get the issue on November's ballot to Ben Schler at the Colorado Secretary of State office in Denver on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 Activist were 2,500 signatures short two weeks ago. They delivered another 14,000 signatures Friday. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

DENVER – Marijuana activists in Colorado turned in thousands more signatures Friday in their effort to once again put a legalization initiative on the ballot.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said it submitted nearly 15,000 petition signatures to state officials – a figure that could bring the total to more than the 86,000 needed to qualify the measure for the fall ballot.

Two weeks ago, the activists were told they still needed about 2,500 valid signatures.

“We saw an amazing outpouring of support from people all over Colorado,” said campaign head Mason Tvert, adding that volunteers and paid petition gatherers collected more signatures.

The Colorado secretary of state, whose office verifies citizen initiative petitions, has until Feb. 27 to say whether the activists have the necessary number of valid signatures.

If the pot activists again fail to have enough valid signatures, they’ll get no third attempt. In that case, Tvert said, the campaign may consider suing over whether some signatures were improperly rejected.

Marijuana legalization is already headed to the ballot this fall in Washington state. Colorado voters rejected a pot legalization measure in 2006, and California voters defeated legalization in 2010.

The latest Colorado measure asks whether marijuana should be legal without a doctor’s recommendation for adults over 21. It would also direct lawmakers to put an excise tax on the drug and allow commercial sales, though cities and counties could ban pot shops if they choose.

A separate Colorado measure to eliminate all criminal penalties for marijuana is circulating, but sponsors haven’t submitted signatures yet.