As it stands right now, there are four states voting on medical marijuana in November. Those states are North Dakota, Florida, Arkansas, and Montana. Montana is particularly unique among the group, in that it will be voting to essentially re-legalize medical marijuana. Montana’s medical marijuana program was gutted recently, leaving 93% of medical marijuana patients without a provider/grower.
Oklahoma has gathered enough signatures to make the 2016 ballot, but a legal challenge there sounds like it will likely result in the initiative having to wait until the next election cycle. Missouri is the other state that is currently pursuing a legal challenge in order to get medical marijuana on the ballot this November. The New Approach Missouri campaign, along with a small army of dedicated volunteers, gathered more than enough signatures to make the ballot.
However, Missouri signature gathering requirements are such that a certain number of signatures have to be gathered from particular districts. A district that includes Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis has a requirement of gathering at least 32,337 valid signatures, which is then applied to the statewide requirements. After officials invalidated over ten thousand signatures, over 2,000 of which supporters argue are perfectly valid, the initiative failed to make the ballot. That resulted in activists challenging the action in court, with the start of the legal proceedings for the challenge occurring yesterday. Per STL Today:
A Cole County Circuit Court judge is expected to decide this week if a proposal to legalize medical marijuana can go before voters in November.
Supporters of the effort say the sheer number of signatures tossed out was cause for concern, questioning if overworked or inexperienced staffers made a mistake.
The first day of court proceedings centered largely around the process for getting a citizen initiative on the ballot, which involves gathering a required number of signatures for a petition that will allow voters to weigh in on changes to the state constitution.
Activists are back in court today, with a decision on the matter expected as early as this week. I personally know a lot of very, very hardworking activists in Missouri that have poured their souls into this campaign. Roughly 2,000 signatures stand in the way of Missouri joining four other states in voting on medical marijuana this November. The patients of Missouri deserve safe access, and the voters of Missouri strongly support this initiative based off of polling.
As I have said many times, a win in Missouri would be a win for reform nationwide, especially if Missouri is joined by the four other states in November in legalizing medical marijuana. If all five states legalized medical marijuana, they would be states 26-29 (Montana is already included in the current 25 states that have legalized medical marijuana).