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Ballot Initiative in Missouri Falls Short; Lawsuits Likely

Citizens in Missouri will not vote on a medical marijuana initiative as the ballot initiative push to do so fell 2,242 signatures short, the Columbia Tribune reports. The signature drive stalled in the state’s Second Congressional District.

New Approach Missouri, the group behind the campaign, indicated they plan on filing a lawsuit challenging the decision by Secretary of State Jason Kander after his office finishes the paperwork on the results of the review, Jack Cardetti, the group’s spokesman said.

“This was a large number, and our internal numbers show we should have met the requirements in this particular district,” he said in the report.

The failure was met with celebration by the Keeping Missouri Kids Safe Coalition, who campaigned against the measure.

“Today is great news for Missourians,” Joy Sweeney said after the Secretary of State’s decision was announced. “The ballot initiative was not certified by the secretary of state and will not be on our ballot in November. The big question I have, and many of us in this room have, is, ‘Why on Earth is this group willing to spend more than $1 million to get this passed in our state?’”

The coalition is comprised of the Council for Drug Free Youth and the Missouri Association of Community Task Forces (ACT). The group has not formed a committee, allowing it to bypass spending disclosures with the Missouri Ethics Commission. However, Dan Viets, state coordinator for NORML, said the group acted like a campaign committee and spent money against the medical cannabis campaign in the form of posters, information packets, and press releases.

“They are functioning as a campaign committee, and if they continue I am sure we will file a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission,” Viets said.

ACT was fined $1,000 by the Ethics Commission in 2013 for campaigning against a marijuana initiative in Columbia for failure to disclose its spending or funding sources.

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