Last Friday, Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson filed a lawsuit to prevent the Secretary of State's office from approving our initiative petition for circulation. The suit argues that because cannabis is federally illegal, merely attempting to allow Missouri patients access to medical cannabis is unconstitutional. This principle would apply not just to our petition, but to any petition that seeks to legalize cannabis in any form in this state.
This is an attack not only on our campaign or cannabis reform, but on our basic right to petition our government, as recognized by the Missouri Supreme Court!
The suit also ignores that a majority of states already have some kind of medical cannabis program -- including Missouri's CBD oil program to treat patients with intractable epilepsy. Perhaps most importantly, Missouri courts have repeatedly ruled that these sorts of constitutional challenges are not ripe until a measure is passed into law, not before voters even have a chance to consider it.
These are the same claims that a group of Missouri prosecutors made when they sued to keep our measure off the ballot in September, but because that case hinged on signatures, the court never ruled specifically on them. If Richardson won this lawsuit, anti-cannabis prosecutors could conceivably keep any sort of reform on the issue from moving forward indefinitely. However, he likely knows the law is not on his side, so the goal of this lawsuit is primarily to waste our time and force us to spend resources.
This is an obstacle that we can and will overcome, but we need your help.
There is a good chance that we will need to intervene in this case to prevent it from stalling or halting our progress. That litigation would be clear cut, but it won't be free. We can't know for certain exactly how much it might cost, but between $5,000 and $15,000 is a reasonable range. Can you help by contributing $10, $25, $50, or more to help fight this lawsuit and keep our campaign moving forward?
The precedent in this case is clear and favorable to our position, and if we prevail in court, it should prevent from our opponents from raising these objections until after the amendment is passed. If, on the other hand, we are unable to respond in court, we could lose precious months for signature collection, making the campaign more expensive and more difficult going forward -- or perhaps snuff it out before it ever gets off the ground.
Please don't let that happen! Take a stand against politicians interfering with the will of the people by making a contribution now!
After we were notified of this lawsuit, I started a new monthly contribution of $100 to the campaign. It is going to be a long haul to November 6, 2018, so it's incumbent upon all of us to take action each and every day. Whether that is making a contribution, sharing this message through email and social media, signing up as a volunteer to gather signatures, or all of the above, I hope you will join the fight today!