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COVID-19 Just Smoked Petition to Put Recreational Marijuana on 2020 Ballot



A group trying to get recreational marijuana on the November ballot is calling off its petition drive because of the coronavirus.

In an email to supporters, the Missouri affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says there’s no way to get enough signatures in time.

“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,” Missouri NORML Coordinator Dan Viets writes in the email. “However, that has not proven to be an option, and there does not appear to be any other path to gathering 170,000 valid signatures we would require prior to the deadline in early May.”

Social distancing is disrupting this year’s political process in all sorts of ways. Underdog candidates can’t rely on knocking on doors, and the town halls and chicken dinners that are typically staples of the campaign trail are now out of the question. For organizations like Missouri NORML and the campaign committee for the recreational marijuana petition drive, Missourians for a New Approach, the ability to hit the streets and collect signatures is vital.

They will now target the November 2022 ballot, Viets’ letter says. Missouri NORML’s “lobby day” event, set for April 22, has also been canceled. The organization’s state conference is still penciled in for October 10 at the University of Missouri in Columbia. But the end of the petition drive was still a blow for supporters, given that the organization liked its chances for this year.

“It appears that Missourians are ready to embrace legalization if given the opportunity to vote on it,” Viets writes.

Maybe in 2022.