The campaign manager of Missourians for a New Approach – the organization leading the initiative to legalize cannabis in the state – said that the group would unlikely meet the May deadline to turn in its petition due to the state’s stay-at-home order, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
John Payne did not declare the campaign over, but that the organization is “exploring their options” including an extension for signature-gathering. However, a spokesperson for the secretary of state told the Post-Dispatch that the state constitution does not give the secretary of state the authority to extend the deadline.
“Unfortunately. while there is widespread support from Missourians to tax and regulate marijuana, there is currently no practical way during the COVID-19 outbreak to safely, publicly gather the 170,000-plus signatures needed.” – Payne to the Post-Dispatch
Dan Viets, board chair for Missourians for a New Approach, called it “a terrible setback” after the organization had collected more than 60,000 of the 170,000 signatures it needed to get the question on November ballots.
The group had also raised $400,000 this month – more than half coming from New Approach PAC and $25,000 each from Focus Partners LLC, Holistic Health Capital LLC, and Mid America Asset.
The measure was estimated to raise between $93 million and $155 million annually for the state, the report says.
This is at least the second legalization drive likely stalled by measures implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as Oklahoma paused all ballot initiatives in the state after the declaration of a 30-day state of emergency.