Signature verification deadline for Missouri marijuana legalization initiative is August 9

In Missouri, there are two citizen-initiated measures pending signature verification. One would legalize marijuana in the state. The other proposal would enact an electoral system combining top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting for general elections. The state must verify whether enough signatures have been collected by August 9.

The marijuana initiative would legalize the purchase, sale, manufacturing,  possession, and consumption of marijuana for persons 21 years old or older; allow individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition to be released from incarceration or have their records expunged; and enact a 6% tax on the sale of marijuana.

Legal Missouri, the campaign behind the electoral system initiative, reported submitting about 385,000 signatures on May 8. In Missouri, there is no statewide signature requirement; rather, proponents of initiated constitutional amendments need to collect signatures equal to 8 percent of the votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the eight state congressional districts. The smallest possible number of signatures required for an initiated amendment is 171,592.

Source: Ballotpedia

According to the Missouri Independent, Legal Missouri had enough valid signatures in four congressional districts but not others. The campaign needed to collect enough valid signatures in at least six congressional districts. Campaign director John Payne said the unofficial counts were being double-checked for errors. “As we continue to see more signature counts submitted by counties, it’s become crystal clear that we have more than enough signatures to qualify our citizens’ initiative for the November general election ballot,” said Payne. 

Missouri is one of 16 states with a signature distribution requirement for citizen-initiated measures. Of those 16, Missouri is one of five states where the distribution requirement is based on congressional districts. The other 10 states with an initiative or referendum process do not have distribution requirements.

If neither of the two initiatives pending signature verification make the ballot, 2022 would be the first even-numbered year since 1986 to feature no citizen-initiated ballot measures.