You are here
Home > News > Legalization Initiative Qualifies for Missouri Ballot

Legalization Initiative Qualifies for Missouri Ballot

Missouri’s ballot has officially approved a plan to legalize adult recreational cannabis use. This will allow voters to lift the current prohibition.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said Tuesday that his office certified the legalization initiative petition for this year’s ballot, according to the Kansas City Star.

In order for the initiative to qualify for the state ballot, organizers of the petition needed to obtain signatures from 8% of registered voters in six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts.

Ashcroft’s office “certified more than 214,000 voter signatures across the state’s eight congressional districts—well above the required roughly 180,000 needed to make the ballot,” the Kansas City Star reported.

It would legalize marijuana for adult smokers over 21.

As in other states that have legalized recreational cannabis use, Missouri’s new law would also provide a process through which individuals previously convicted of pot-related offenses could have their records expunged.

Missouri’s 2018 initiative to legalize medical marijuana was approved by a large number of voters. Polls show that Missouri is now ready for legalization.

But for Legal Missouri 2022, the coalition behind this year’s legalization drive, getting to this point is something of a victory. Two weeks ago it looked like the initiative could not qualify for the ballot.

Legal Missouri submitted more than 385,000 total signatures in May, but a local television station in Missouri reported late last month that the signature count in four of the state’s congressional districts could come down to the wire.

Ashcroft at the time urged caution, saying the initiative “isn’t dead.”

“I can’t say without any certainty whether it will make it or not. It is in no way certain that they will fail,” Ashcroft said then.

On Tuesday, Legal Missouri could finally breathe a sigh of relief––and set its focus on November.

“Our statewide coalition of activists, business owners, medical marijuana patients and criminal justice reform advocates has worked tirelessly to reach this point, and deserves all the credit,” John Payne, campaign manager of Legal Missouri 2022, said in a statement. “Our campaign volunteers collected 100,000 signatures, on top of paid signature collection. The outpouring support from Missourians for legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis was a huge factor in the success of this campaign. We are looking forward to engaging voters in the next weeks and months. Missourians are more than ready to end the senseless and costly prohibition of marijuana.”

Payne expressed optimism even as fate of the initiative was in doubt late last month. She said that there could be human error if signatures were not consistent.

“Our close review of voter signature totals submitted to the state by counties shows that we have more than enough signatures to qualify our citizens’ initiative for the November general election ballot—and that some counties, due to a reliance on temporary workers, mistakenly rejected thousands of valid voter signatures. To be clear, this is not to suggest or imply any wrongdoing on the part of counties,” he said at the time.

SurveyUSA found that 62% Missouri voters think recreational marijuana use should be allowed for adults in a recent poll.

It was clear that a majority (78%) of Democrats and 68%) of independents supported legalization. However, only a fraction (47%) of Republicans agreed.