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With Fate of Ballot Initiative Up in the Air, Poll Finds Majority of Missouri Voters Back Legalization

It is still unclear whether a proposal to legalize cannabis use for adults will qualify for this year’s ballot in Missouri. But if it does, it’s a good bet to pass.

This is the result of a poll that was conducted late last month.

SurveyUSA has just released the most recent findings that sixty-two percent believe cannabis should be legalized for recreational purposes. Just 26% believed that marijuana should not be illegal.

The survey revealed that large majorities of Democrats in Show Me State and Independents support ending cannabis prohibition.

78% of Dems believe recreational marijuana use should be legalized, and 68% of Missouri Independents agree.

Missouri’s Republicans are more split than ever on this issue, with 47% of GOP voters saying legalization should occur for recreational cannabis and 40% saying otherwise.

Huge majorities in every age group said they support legalization—except for those 65 and older.

70% of voters between 18 and 34 said they were in favor ending prohibition. 60% of people 50 to 64 said the exact same.

47%, 40%, and 47% respectively said that they were in favor of legalization among those 65 years old or older.

SurveyUSA conducted the poll between July 24 and 27, based upon interviews with 1,981 Missouri registered voters. There is a margin for error of 2.6%.

Advocates are hopeful that Missouri will be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana use.

First, the question must be presented to the voters of the state.

That remains up in the air, as the Missouri secretary of state’s office continues to assess petitions submitted by a group aiming to get a legalization initiative on this year’s ballot.

Jay Ashcroft, Missouri Secretary of State, stated last month that organizers have not yet collected enough signatures to allow an initiative to be qualified.

Missouri’s state law states that organizers need to obtain signatures of 8% of registered voters within six congressional districts.

In May, the group Legal Missouri 2022 submitted more than 385,000 signatures to Ashcroft’s office, well above the requisite threshold. 

KFVS in local television reported last month, however, that although they had collected the necessary number of signatures in four congressional district, their counts in the remaining four were uncertain.

Ashcroft’s office is expected to make a final decision on the initiative by August 9.

“I can’t say without any certainty whether it will make it or not. Their failure is not certain. This isn’t dead,” Ashcroft told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Legal Missouri’s organizers, however, remain optimistic that the initiative will be voted on by voters in November.

“The Legal Missouri 2022 campaign continues to work to ensure that every valid voter signature is counted properly, and is excited that Missouri voters will soon have their opportunity to decide for themselves,” the group’s campaign manager, John Payne, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last month.

“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,” Payne added.