A Circuit Court Judge on Friday dismissed a legal challenge that sought to remove a marijuana legalization question from the November ballot.
The Judge determined that the plaintiff in the suit, who works for the Virginia-based Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, did not have standing to challenge the initiative because she failed to provide sufficient evidence of residency. Further, the Judge also opined that the plaintiff’s challenge lacked merit, finding that all of the measure’s provisions related to regulating cannabis and therefore it did not violate the state’s single subject rule requirement. He also determined that the Secretary of State’s office acted properly when it counted and validated the signatures provided by the campaign’s proponents, Legal Missouri 2022.
In recent years, legalization opponents have frequently turned to legal challenges in their efforts to either overturn election results or to prevent voters from deciding on marijuana legalization questions. Commenting on the shift in tactics in a recent op-ed, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “With public support for marijuana policy reform reaching super-majority status in recent years, prohibitionists and other political opponents have largely abandoned efforts to try and influence public opinion. Rather, they are now relying on gamesmanship to prevent voters from weighing in on the issue. In some cases, they are even willing to overturn the will of the electorate to get their way. … Whether or not one personally supports or opposes cannabis legalization, these cynical and undemocratic tactics ought to be a cause of deep concern.”
Missouri’s proposed measure would allow adults to possess (up to three ounces), to purchase (from licensed retailers), and to home cultivate (up to six flowering plants, six immature plants, and six clones) limited quantities of cannabis. It also establishes a program to automatically review and expunge those with criminal records for non-violent marijuana-related marijuana offenses, among other changes in law.
Voters in Maryland, North Dakota, and South Dakota will be deciding on adult-use legalization initiatives on Election Day. Proponents of an Arkansas initiative to legalize the adult-use marijuana market are engaged in a legal appeal before the Supreme Court after election officials rejected their proposed ballot title. In Oklahoma, election officials recently verified that proponents gathered the necessary signatures to qualify their legalization proposal, but have also warned that delays in the verification process may jeopardize its inclusion on the 2022 ballot.
In addition to these statewide efforts, voters in dozens of cities will be deciding on municipal ballot questions this fall. For instance, voters in five Texas cities – Denton, Elgin, Harker Heights, Killeen, and San Marcos – will decide on measures seeking to amend local laws curtailing police officers’ authority to “issue citations or make arrests for Class A or Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana offenses” absent a defendant’s alleged involvement in a “felony level narcotics” case. Voters in several Ohio cities will also decide on municipal measures depenalizing activities involving marijuana possession.
In Rhode Island, voters in 31 towns will decide on measures determining whether or not to allow licensed cannabis retailers in their localities. Voters in cities in several other states, including Colorado, Michigan, and Montana, will decide on similar local ballot measures as well.
For a detailed breakdown of 2022 ballot initiatives, please visit NORML’s Election Central.