Missouri voters will see at least two medical marijuana proposals on the Nov. 6 election ballot, after Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Pat Joyce rejected a lawsuit challenging proposed constitutional Amendment 2.
One day after holding a hearing on both of Springfield resident Brad Bradshaw's challenges to the amendment and to a proposed change in state law, Joyce upheld the motions to dismiss the one lawsuit and end a court order temporarily blocking Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft from putting the amendment on the ballot for voters to decide.
Bradshaw's attorney, James E. Meadows, of Springfield, didn't respond to a request for a comment about the judge's ruling.
Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for the group New Approach Missouri, which sponsored Amendment 2 and circulated petitions for it, said in a Friday afternoon news release: "With the dismissal of attorney Brad Bradshaw's frivolous lawsuit, Missourians will have the opportunity to vote for Amendment 2 and make Missouri the 31st state that allows doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients with debilitating illnesses. Amendment 2 is supported by a true coalition of patients, veterans and health care providers who believe doctors and their patients should be put back in charge of medical treatment options."
Bradshaw backs Amendment 3, which also would allow medical marijuana to be used in Missouri.
Amendment 3 would impose a 15 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana, and a tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana flowers and leaves, per dry-weight ounce, to licensed facilities.
Amendment 2 would impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana, then use the money raised by the tax to pay for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission, and to administer a program to license or certify and to regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities.
Missouri's Constitution says, if voters approve both measures, "the one receiving the largest affirmative vote shall prevail."
Bradshaw argued New Approach Missouri didn't follow the statutory requirements that petition circulators witness each signature, including placing copies of the petition "at retail establishments for individuals to sign without doing so in the presence of the circulator."
Bradshaw also said the petition should be blocked because the circulators "did not actually sign the affidavits in the presence of notaries."
But, Joyce wrote in a six-page Order and Judgment: "The Missouri Supreme Court has already ruled that once the signatures have been submitted to the Secretary of State and verified by local election authorities the only relevant issue at this point is whether the signatures are those of registered voters, not whether each signature was collected in complete compliance with statutory requirements."
Joyce also noted several Supreme Court rulings "emphasize the importance of the people's right of initiative, and draw a clear distinction between the statutory requirements for signature collection and the constitutional requirements of a minimum number of voters (signatures) from a certain percentage of congressional districts."
The judge also pointed to Bradshaw's complaint that two previous Supreme Court rulings "were wrongly decided," so they shouldn't influence her decision in the current case.
"This court is bound to follow the Missouri Supreme Court's holdings," she wrote. "Only that court can reconsider its own precedent."