While Missouri voters were excited about the chance to vote on recreational cannabis this November, it turns out they will have to wait another year, as medical cannabis won’t be making the ballot.
The organization that rallied to try and get cannabis on the ballot, Missourians for a New Approach, are suspending their efforts, according to the Springfield News Leader.
The group claimed that they dealt with difficulties getting signatures due to the shelter-in-place order that is demanding Missouri residents to stay at home to help get the COVID-19 crisis under control. In total, they needed 170,000 signatures for the Missouri ballot, and that was too hard to do with the limited time and resources they faced under lockdowns.
In response to this crisis and how it impacted their campaign, Missourians for a New Approach tried to persuade the state to let them collect signatures online instead in person. However, they weren’t successful in getting their plea to collect signatures digitally passed in time.
Is The Delay For The Best?
Not everyone thinks this delay is a bad thing. Josh Loftis, an advocate for legal, medical cannabis patients in Missouri, feels like the delay will give people more time to learn more about recreational cannabis.
“It was a poor bill written for business interests and not consumers,” Loftis told the News-Leader regarding his feelings for the language that almost made the ballot. “I hope this gives citizens time to study the issue more to be better prepared for the next push for adult use legislation. I am absolutely certain that there will be better language (a better bill) than New Approach’s in circulation, at that time.”
Although some states have actually seen an advance in cannabis policy during the lockdown, Missouri isn’t the first state to face issues collecting for ballots during quarantine.
While medical cannabis was legalized in 2018, the industry still hasn’t taken off in Missouri at the rate it has in other states, and many were hoping recreational cannabis would give it a boost. It now looks like advocates are going to have to wait at least another year.