MISSOULA, Mont. - One man's mission to ban all federally illegal drugs in Montana, including medical marijuana, has hit a snag.
Proposed Ballot Initiative 174 needed 24,174 signatures by June 20 to make it on the November ballot, a number sponsor Steve Zabawa doesn't believe his volunteers were able to reach, but that doesn't mean he's discouraged.
"We only had 20 days to get the signatures," said Zabawa. "What was interesting was that the large majority of families and people we approached really liked the idea of no illegal drugs being legalized in the state of Montana.
That's why Zabawa says he'll bring a bill mandating the same thing before the state legislature in January, and why he's confident it will pass.
"They'd like to see everybody being on the same page so that the doctor, the nurse, the judges, the police officers and the patients would all have a safe set of rules to handle medicine with."
Marijuana supporter Chris Lindsey says we've already tried that.
"What he's advocating for is the same failed policy that we've seen for decades," said Lindsey.
He believes that legal recreational pot use, like in Colorado and Washington, is inevitable in Montana.
"It will absolutely happen here," said Lindsey." The reason why I say that is because we've been told for many years that the sky will fall if we allow a regulated system, and that's simply not happening. We see what used to be an underground market shift to a taxed and regulated system, like in Colorado."
Lindsey says a voter initiative similar to the ones passed in Washington and Colorado is in the works for 2016 in Montana, but Zabawa says something else could also come that year.
"What happens if a Republican president comes into play in 2016? Do you think he's going to allow illegal drugs to be distributed?"