US (MO): Court hearing scrutinizes unprecedented signature process

The unprecedented steps Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft took to verify signatures to place a cannabis legalization initiative petition on the ballot were outside the scope of his authority, attorneys for an anti-drug activist argued Thursday, September 8.

Cole County Judge Cotton Walker faces a Sept. 13 deadline to decide whether an initiative petition to legalize cannabis for those 21 and older should appear on the November ballot.

On Thursday, Walker heard arguments in a lawsuit filed last month by Joy Sweeney, deputy director of training, technical assistance, and community outreach for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, a group of community coalitions that aim to prevent substance use and abuse.

During the testimony, Ashcroft’s director of elections said the process used to certify signatures for the cannabis proposal was different than any previous initiative petition and that local election authorities were not notified that the secretary of state was overruling their work. 

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