Unofficial signature counts provided by county officials to the Secretary of State’s office find that advocates failed to gather the necessary number of signatures from registered voters to qualify their adult-use marijuana legalization measure for the November ballot.
In May, representatives with the group Legal Missouri 2022 reported that they had turned in over 385,000 signatures — more than double the total (171,592) necessary to place the proposed measure on the ballot. However, because the proposed measure is a constitutional amendment, advocates are required to obtain a set percentage of signatures (eight percent) from six of the state’s eight congressional districts. Officials on Tuesday said that their initial counts only verified a sufficient number of signatures from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th districts.
Specifically, the campaign is “1,573 signatures short in the 6th Congressional District, which runs from Kansas City to the Iowa border, and 1,144 signatures short in the 7th Congressional District in southwest Missouri around Springfield and Joplin,” the Missouri Independent reported.
John Payne, Legal Missouri’s campaign manager, said that they are working with local officials to double check their voter counts and identify any potential errors, and he said that the campaign remains confident they will ultimately qualify for the ballot. All signatures must be verified by August 9, 2022.
Added Dan Viets, Chair of the Legal Missouri 2022 Advisory Board and Executive Director for Missouri NORML, “We are in the process of working with the MO Secretary of State to show why local county clerks have undercounted valid signatures. We will have the appropriate number of validated signatures by the August 9th deadline.”
Missouri’s proposed measure would allow adults to possess (up to three ounces), purchase (from licensed retailers), and home cultivate (up to six flowering plants) limited quantities of cannabis. It would also establish a program to automatically review and expunge those with criminal records for non-violent marijuana-related marijuana offenses.
Adult-use legalization measures have already qualified for the 2022 ballot in Maryland and in South Dakota. Signatures in support of separate state efforts have been turned in an are awaiting verification in Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Additional information on 2022 ballot initiatives is available from NORML’s Election Central.