Judge tosses lawsuit to block adult-use cannabis initiative from Missouri ballot

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

A Missouri judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block a November ballot measure to legalize adult-use marijuana in the state, a win for legalization advocates.

Cole County Judge Cotton Walker ruled that the plaintiff, anti-drug activist Joy Sweeney, lacked standing because she couldn’t prove she was a citizen of the state, the Missouri Independent reported.

In her suit, Sweeney, representing the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, alleged that the ballot measure:

  • Violates the state’s single-subject rule for constitutional amendments.
  • The signature petitions submitted by the campaign were improperly verified by the secretary of state and weren’t actually enough to make the ballot.

In his ruling against Sweeney’s lawsuit, the judge wrote that even if he had decided the action had merit, he would have sided with Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Legal Missouri, the campaign backing the initiative.

The judge also confirmed the campaign had secured enough verified signatures to appear on the ballot, another point of contention in the lawsuit.

An attorney for the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal, according to the Missouri Independent.

The judge’s ruling comes on the heels of Missouri’s Republican governor rejecting a request by a group of Missouri lawmakers to add recreational marijuana legalization to a legislative special session.

The governor’s decision was viewed as a victory by legalization advocates because, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the lawmakers wanted to include adult-use marijuana in the special session “to blunt momentum for Amendment 3.”

Amendment 3 is a recreational cannabis legalization question scheduled to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.