Lawsuits seek to remove two of three medical marijuana issues from November ballot

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — With three medical marijuana initiatives slated for the general election, the backer on one is seeking to get other two removed from the ballot.

On Friday, Springfield attorney and doctor Brad Bradshaw filed two lawsuits in Cole County alleging that one campaign failed to collect enough signatures and the other used unlawful signature collection practices. He is seeking both initiatives be invalidated and not placed on the November ballot.

The Secretary of State must certify questions for the November ballot by August 28. Bradshaw filed a motion to expedite the process with the election less than three months away.

In the lawsuit against question put forth by New Approach Missouri, Bradshaw claims the group  “ran an intentional, systematic, pervasive, and ubiquitous pattern of instructing individuals to violate the legal requirements of the petition signature gathering process.”

Bradshaw is arguing that thousands of signatures were collected without a petition circulator present and in a variety of other unlawful ways. For an example, he claims that New Approach Missouri placed the petition in retail establishments. Under Missouri law, the circulator of the petition, in the presence of a notary, must sign an affidavit of each page with collected signatures.

Also alleged in the lawsuit, is the unregistered voters signed the petition and some information was listed incorrectly. Missouri law requires that those signing a petition be registered voters.

“Brad Bradshaw has filed a frivolous lawsuit to try to get done in court what he won’t be able to do at the ballot box — prevent the passage of Amendment 2, which would make Missouri the 31st state to allow medical marijuana,” said Jack Cardetti, spokesman for New Approach Missouri. “Our campaign is made up of thousands of veterans, patients and health care providers, whereas Brad Bradshaw is the sole supporter of his conflicted effort.”

In his lawsuit against the measure put forth by Missourians for Patient Care, Bradshaw is alleging that the group failed to gather enough signatures. The Secretary of State’s Office certified the signatures for the measuring seeking a statutory change on August 2, 2018.

To change statutory law, a petition must collect the signatures of 5 percent of the total previous cycle’s gubernatorial voters in six of the state’s eight congressional districts.

Bradshaw is alleging that the petition only collected enough signatures in five congressional districts due to the fact that some signatures certified as valid, were actually invalid.

In the 5th Congressional District, Missourians for Patient Care collected 59,153 signatures with 16,386 being certified. The number of valid signatures only exceeded the requirement by 38 signees.

But Bradshaw is arguing the “39 or more of the signatures…for the Congressional District No. 5 identified as valid are, in fact, invalid.”

If Bradshaw wins both his lawsuits, the constitutional amendment he put forth would be the sole medical marijuana issue on the November ballot.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.