The effort to hold a vote on legalizing marijuana in Missouri has run into problems because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
More than 60,000 signatures have been collected since January to put the vote on the ballot in November. Dan Viets, board chair of the Missourians for a New Approach committee, said the organization was on track to meet the required 160,000 signatures by May 3.
But now, quarantines, city- and county-wide shelter in place orders and social distancing standards pose a significant challenge to that effort.
Viets said there are still people petitioning, but it’s more difficult than before.
“It’s a frustrating experience because there are so few people on the streets and sidewalks; there are so few businesses that are even open,” Viets said. “Libraries were always one of our great petitioning locations. They are closed. It's very, very difficult now to do effective petitioning.”
No decision has been made yet to stop the campaign. Right now, people are still petitioning in six of the eight Missouri congressional districts, Viets said. A decision whether to continue the effort will be made in the next two weeks. If the campaign doesn’t resume fast enough, it may be impossible to get enough signatures, Viets said. If efforts do not continue this year, Viets said efforts will likely be renewed in the year 2022.
“Time is slipping away,” he said. “And that's a very precious commodity.”