Boxes of petition signatures for a Maine marijuana legalization initiative are delivered to state officials on Feb. 1, 2016 as protesters wave signs in Augusta, Maine. (Tom Bell, The Associated Press)

Anti-pot group wants Maine to investigate failed signature drive

Odd twist: State rejected half of required signatures needed to get legal pot on ballot; opponent of the movement says he wants 'integrity' of process protected

AUGUSTA, Maine — An anti-marijuana group wants the Maine Attorney General’s Office to investigate the failed signature-gathering drive to legalize marijuana.

Scott Gagnon, director of the Maine chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said Thursday an investigation would protect the integrity of the referendum process.

The pro-marijuana group Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol had submitted more than 99,000 signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, but the state rejected nearly half. The Secretary of State’s office found that almost half were invalid.

Just over 61,000 signatures are required to get the measure on the November ballot.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said it plans to file an appeal because many of the rejected signatures are valid.