JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An effort to get a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri on the November ballot has collapsed amid the coronavirus outbreak.
A group called Missourians for a New Approach committee announced Wednesday that it “simply cannot succeed in gathering sufficient signatures” amid restrictions that closed business and forced people to stay home. The group had faced a deadline of May 3 to collect 170,000 signatures.
“We had hoped that it might be possible to persuade the state of Missouri to allow online signature gathering under the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in this spring,” the group said in a statement.
But state officials said no, and the group said “there does not appear to be any other path.” The statement said that the group hoped that the campaign would resume next year, with the goal of placing the issue of whether to legalize the use of marijuana for those 21 or older on the November 2022 ballot.
“It appears,” the group wrote, “that Missourians are ready to embrace legalization if given the opportunity to vote on it.”
The group has said the recreational marijuana effort is being supported by the same backers who helped pass the medical marijuana constitutional amendment in 2018.