Organization fights to get medicinal marijuana on November ballot

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JEFFERSON CITY- There are plenty of issues that Missouri voters will get to decide on in November.

But medicinal marijuana, at least for now, is not one of them.

New Approach Missouri is a medical marijuana advocacy group, and tried to get the issue on the ballot, but fell about 2,200 signatures short after having 10,700 of the signatures from residents of Missouri's second congressional district deemed invalid.

The group will now try to have some of the signatures deemed valid again.

On the group's website, it said "We don’t believe the local election authorities in this district unnecessarily invalidated these signatures out of malice, but rather the errors were made by overworked staff and temporary employees that are brought in to handle the validation process for this year’s five initiative petitions."

Missouri's second congressional district consists of parts of Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties. Dan Viets, the Secretary of the Board of Directors of New Approach Missouri, said the organization does not know why so many signatures were invalidated.

"The local county elections officials invalidated a far larger number of signatures than they did in the other counties," Viets said. "So we're trying to figure out why they invalidated as large a number of signatures as they did."

New Appoach Missouri hopes to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri as a treatment option for people with cancer, post-traumatic stress syndrome,  epilepsy, and other debilitating illnesses. According to the group's website, marijuana would be taxed at 4% and the $20 million generated annually would benefit veteran healthcare in Missouri, according to the New Approach Missouri website. 

If the measure makes it onto the ballot and is approved by voters in November, Missouri will be the 26th state to allow state licensed physicians to recommend marijuana to patients with debilitating illnesses.