The effort to legalize marijuana in Missouri has suffered a setback as the state's leading legalization group, Show Me Cannabis, has decided to postpone its ballot-initiative efforts until the 2016 elections instead of going for it this year.
The decision comes after weeks of phone polling indicated that 51 percent of likely Missouri voters in 2014 opposed legalization, compared to 45 percent who approved. Those numbers are far below the 60 percent that John Payne, the executive director of Show Me Cannabis, has said would be necessary for the group to put the money and organizing effort into what what would be a monumental victory for this mostly conservative Midwestern state.
Despite the disappointing poll numbers, Payne says that they likely do not reflect the state's true stance on legalization. The phone polls that Show Me Cannabis conducted targeted likely 2014 voters, and because there are no exciting offices up for grabs like governor, senator or president, turnout is expected to be low, and the people going to the polls are not the young or independent-minded voters who largely support legalization.
"It appears that phenomenon has a large impact on the level of support we can expect on Election Day, because when we re-weight the results for the expected turnout in 2016, the numbers basically flip, with 52 percent favoring a legalization proposal," Payne wrote in a newsletter to supporters Tuesday.
Still, Payne says, 52 percent is not quite the coveted 60 percent, which means Show Me Cannabis and others in favor of legalization still have some work to do before 2016. Among the goals Payne has is persuading more state legislators to enact reform. Click on the next page to read more...
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