Missouri Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Ballot Measure To Legalize Marijuana

Judge says it's unclear if person who filed lawsuit lives in Missouri

The Cole County Circuit Judge dismissed the lawsuit because it was unclear if the filer lived in Missouri. - Photo courtesy of Flickr / Joe Gratz.
Photo courtesy of Flickr / Joe Gratz.
The Cole County Circuit Judge dismissed the lawsuit because it was unclear if the filer lived in Missouri.

A lawsuit contesting the upcoming marijuana ballot measure was dismissed by a judge on Friday.

The lawsuit against Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft threatened to take down a ballot measure, known as Amendment 3, that would essentially legalize marijuana across Missouri. Its argument centered on the validity of the signatures needed to certify the ballot item. It also cited a state constitution provision that mandates ballot measures to a single subject matter.

In the end, however, Cole County Circuit Judge Cotton Walker dismissed the lawsuit for a different reason: the residence of the woman, Joy Sweeney, who filed it. Sweeney is the deputy director of training, technical assistance and community outreach for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

Walker denied the lawsuit under procedural grounds, arguing there isn’t enough evidence to prove Sweeney lives in Missouri — voiding her lawsuit. Sweeney testified that she lives in Missouri, but owns a home in Virginia.
Regardless of the residency question, the judge also dismissed Sweeney's arguments against the lawsuit. He stated no wrongdoing in the collection of signatures or the subject of the ballot measure.

“This Court would have therefore dismissed the Petition and assessed costs against Plaintiff if it had ruled on the merits in this case,” the judgment reads.

The ballot measure will allow recreational-use marijuana for residents over 21 and expunge non-violent marijuana-related criminal offenses from records. Still, Amendment 3 has generated controversy, especially within pro-legislation camps, as a recent Riverfront Times cover story showed.

The prospect of marijuana legalization will now go to voters on November 8.

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