Supporters for legalizing marijuana in the Nation’s Capital submitted over 57,000 signatures to the D.C. Board of Elections on July 7, to place Initiative 71 on the November ballot. Representatives from the D.C. Board of Elections amarijuana1nd Ethics (DCBOEE) counted 3,338 pages of petition signatures to legalize the personal growth and recreational use of marijuana. The initiative required more than 22,000 valid signatures to qualify.

“It was hard work,” said Elliot Mathis, 32, who has been arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana. “Some people were afraid their jobs would search for their names on the petition, especially government workers. I heard some of the most ridiculous reasons why people who smoke pot didn’t want to sign. They want marijuana legalized though.”

Mathis said the initiative crew was very hard on petitioners. “Forget the Board of Elections. If the cannabis people didn’t like what you turned in, it was discounted. That was really tough considering I worked in extremely hot weather,” said Mathis.

This initiative, if passed, will make it lawful under District of Columbia law for a person 21 years of age or older to:

* Possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use;

* Grow no more than six cannabis plants with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants, within the person’s principal residence;

* Transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years of age or older; and

* Use or sell drug paraphernalia for the use, growing, or processing of marijuana or cannabis.

According to Tamara Robinson, DCBOEE public information officer, July 10 begins the 10-calendar day challenge period of the collected signatures. “If there is no challenge, then the board will go through its process to pick out random sample of signatures to determine if enough were collected to meet the required amount,” Robinson said.

“Getting this far has taken us over a year of hard work by hundreds of cannabis crusaders,” said Adam Eidinger, chairman, D.C. Cannabis Campaign. The group, $12 thousand in debt, is looking for donations, no matter how large or small. “Unlike partisan political campaigns, ballot initiatives in Washington, D.C. do not have caps on the amount you can donate. Every single cent helps,” Eidinger said. “Throw in a couple of bucks so we can keep the campaign afloat.”

On July 8, Washington State became the second jurisdiction in the nation to legalize marijuana from seed to sale.