MO: Medical Pot Backers Turn To Courts After Proposal Falls Short Of Signatures

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Jefferson City – A proposal that would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for patients with certain illnesses won’t get on the ballot in November without court action, its backers said Monday.

Though Secretary of State Jason Kander has until Tuesday to announce which proposals voters will weigh in on this fall, New Approach Missouri, the group pushing the medical marijuana initiative, said that after using open records to track progress with local election officials, their campaign will fall short of the required validated signatures in Missouri’s second congressional district.

Election authorities in a district encompassing Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties invalidated 10,700 signatures, leaving the campaign just over 2,000 short of the required 32,337 for the district.

New Approach spokesman Jack Cardetti said the sheer number of signatures tossed out raises a red flag, chalking it up to overworked staff and temporary employees brought in to help validate petitions.

“These temp workers, sometimes they see a signature but can’t find that signature on the voter registration rolls. It may not appear at first glance,” Cardetti said. “It can happen for any number of reasons.”

Cardetti also said he was confident the court would eventually overturn thrown-out signatures, and that the group plans to file a legal challenge within ten days.

The proposal would allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with a number of debilitating conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, taxing medical marijuana sales at 4 percent.

New Approach Missouri argues that that would generate $20 million to be put toward Missouri veterans’ health care.

The group collected an estimated 199,000 signatures overall, Cardetti said. To get on the ballot, the initiative needed 165,000 signatures from registered voters, but individual congressional districts in Missouri have their own required totals to hit.

Should a court rule in the group’s favor and the measure wins enough votes Nov. 8, Missouri could become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.

A much stricter effort failed in the Missouri House last session, when lawmakers rejected a plan that would have allowed terminally ill patients to use the drug to relieve pain.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Medical Pot Backers Turn To Courts After Proposal Falls Short Of Required Signatures For Ballot
Author: Celeste Bott
Contact: 314-340-8888
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Website: St. Louis Post-Dispatch