A Cole County judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday that would have booted an initiative to legalize marijuana off the November ballot.
The lawsuit had been filed by a woman who had backing from a national anti-drug coalition.
In the judgment, Cole County Circuit Judge Cotton Walker ruled that there wasn’t evidence to prove that the woman, Joy Sweeney, is in fact a Missouri resident. Without proof of residency, Sweeney has no standing to file a lawsuit in the state.
During the trial Thursday, Sweeney testified that she retains Missouri residency but also owns a home in Virginia.
Sweeney filed the lawsuit to block the marijuana ballot issue last month against Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, whose office is responsible for elections in Missouri.
During Thursday’s trial, attorneys for Ashcroft and Sweeney spent the bulk of the time battling over the validity of the signatures required to put the marijuana initiative on the ballot.
They also argued their positions on a provision of the state constitution that limits ballot initiatives to a single subject.
Walker dismissed both arguments made by Sweeney’s lawyers.
In his ruling, the judge concluded that there is no evidence that any of the required signatures are invalid. He also concluded that the content of the initiative did not violate the state constitution’s single-subject provision.
Despite the residency question, Walker noted that there was sufficient evidence to show that signatures were indeed valid and that the six provisions of the ballot initiative were “properly connected” to the main subject of the initiative.
“This court concludes that the initiative does not contain multiple subjects but instead all provisions relate to a central purpose,” Walker wrote.
In early August, Ashcroft certified the petition as a ballot measure, to be listed as Amendment 3. If approved, it would allow Missourians 21 and older to possess, consume, purchase and cultivate marijuana.
In addition to legalizing recreational marijuana, the ballot initiative would tax marijuana sales, set licensing procedures for growing and selling marijuana, and allow nonviolent marijuana offenders to have their criminal records expunged.