We're glad supporters of a medical marijuana initiative failed in their attempt to force the measure onto the November ballot.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger would not allow the measure to be included on the ballot after investigations showed that thousands of names on the petitions were fraudulent. Fifteen people, including current and former football players at North Dakota State University, have been charged with misdemeanors in the case. The signature-gatherers are accused of copying names from phone books and other sources as well as simply making up names during the signature gathering process last summer. Another initiative to set aside part of the state's oil tax revenues for conservation and other projects was also disqualified.
After some 6,000 names were removed, the medical marijuana petition fell far short of the required amount of signatures. Supporters argued that Jaeger didn't do a random sampling of names on the petition in an attempt to discover if they were real or not, and that the actual number of signatures disqualified was less than Jaeger announced. They were asking the state Supreme Court to put the issue on the ballot despite the investigation and accusations of fraud.
The Supreme Court decided Wednesday it would not hear arguments on the issue. Good.
There is sufficient evidence to warrant the removal of thousands of signatures, even without the follow-up random sampling. Because of the alleged illegal activity, supporters of the issue will have to start the process of gathering names again if they want to eventually get the issue on the ballot. It's the only way the public will trust that the signature-gathering process was legitimate. The Supreme Court was right to not hear arguments in the case.