2016 Initiative Petition Filed

John Payne
November 11, 2014 | John Payne

Last Wednesday, November 5, we filed an initiative petition to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis with the Missouri Secretary of State for the 2016 election cycle. With the midterm elections held the night before, Wednesday was the first possible day we could file, and it was the first petition the Secretary of State’s office received.

In fact, when Show-Me Cannabis Board Chair Dan Viets and Director of Research Aaron Malin arrived to file, the people in the office informed them that they would have to fill out a new cover sheet that had not been published yet! Now that’s getting ahead of the game.

You can check out our petition (#001) on the Secretary of State’s website or on our website. We have not fully committed to this particular version of the initiative, and we will likely submit a few alternative drafts in the next few weeks.

If you have feedback on the draft, we want to hear it. You can leave comments on this page, and I encourage you to share it with others who support the cause. We’ve already received hundreds of comments, so I can’t promise an individual response to each, but we will read them and respond to some of the most common questions and comments.

I have received many emails asking where people can sign the petition or how they can gather signatures. I love the enthusiasm, but it will be a while yet before we are collecting signatures.

It will take the Secretary of State and Auditor roughly four to eight weeks to prepare ballot language and a fiscal note. We also intend to conduct scientific polling to test the viability of the measure among likely 2016 voters, which will likely require another week or two. All said, I hope to be gathering signatures by some time in January. That will give us nearly 16 months to collect the 167,000 signatures we will need from registered Missouri voters to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done to prepare for the campaign. You can encourage your friends to sign up for this newsletter by sharing this page or ask them to sign up for text updates by texting “smc” to 420420. That way, when we are ready to start gathering signatures they will know, which makes it a little easier to identify those 167,000 voters.

Speaking of voters, you can’t sign the petition unless you are registered to vote in Missouri. If you aren’t registered or need to change your registration because of a new address or any other reason, you can register online here.

We also have a number of events coming up in Kansas City, Columbia, Saint Louis, Nevada, and Springfield. You should be able to find one near you to attend and show your support. And don’t forget to invite your friends!

Finally, we need financial support from everyone who can afford it to make this campaign successful. Initiative campaigns cost millions of dollars. For instance, our friends in Oregon spent $3.75 million to secure their victory last week, and Oregon has 3.8 million people compared to Missouri’s six million.

If we spent the same amount per capita as the Oregon campaign, we will need to raise nearly $6 million in the next two years. Frankly, I believe we will have to do even better than that, as we face a greater uphill battle to legalize cannabis than Oregon did, but I believe we can do it.

If you also believe we can make legalization a reality in Missouri, please sign up for a recurring contribution of $5, $10, or $20 today! Those amounts may not seem like much compared to the total we need to raise, but spread out over hundreds and, hopefully, thousands of contributors over the course of two years, it can add up to something huge: victory.

If you are unable to make a monthly pledge, I hope you can make a one-time gift of $10, $20, or $50 to get the campaign rolling forward.

We are starting this process early to ensure that we are fully prepared for the task in front of us. I cannot say for certain what challenges await us and how they will change our course, but I can say that we are fully committed to placing the broadest possible reform that Missouri voters will endorse on November 8, 2016, on the ballot and running the best possible campaign to support it.

I hope we can count on your support.

This article appeared in the November 11, 2014, edition of the Show-Me Cannabis email newsletter.