Recreational marijuana won’t make Missouri ballot this year

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Voters in Missouri won’t have an opportunity to legalize recreational cannabis in 2020.

Missourians for a New Approach, the campaign working to gather signatures to put an adult-use cannabis initiative on the ballot, is suspending its efforts, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

In announcing the campaign is over, the group cited difficulties related to the state’s shelter-in-place orders issued in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Campaign Chair Dan Viets told the newspaper the state’s COVID-19 lockdowns have made “petitioning very difficult” and that it was going to be virtually impossible to gather the 170,000 signatures needed to make the November 2020 ballot.

Efforts to persuade Missouri officials to allow campaigners to collect signatures online instead of in-person were unsuccessful, Viets told the News-Leader. A legalization advocacy group on Montana filed a lawsuit seeking the right to collect signatures digitally.

The end of the Missouri campaign is the latest blow to U.S. marijuana legalization efforts, many of which have also been stalled because of the coronavirus.

Missouri legalized medical marijuana in 2018 by a statewide ballot measure, but the industry has yet to launch.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.