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Lawsuit seeks to snuff out two of three medical marijuana questions on Missouri ballot

Lawsuit seeks to snuff out two of three medical marijuana questions on Missouri ballot

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JEFFERSON CITY • The man backing one of three medical marijuana questions on the November ballot is trying to disqualify his two competitors.

Springfield attorney Brad Bradshaw filed lawsuits in Cole County last week, saying that one of the initiatives failed to collect enough signatures, while the other broke the law when it circulated its petitions.

The legal maneuvering comes as the clock ticks down on Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is in charged of setting up the November ballot. In the lawsuit, Bradshaw asks for an expedited hearing in both cases, with the hope of having the matter settled by early October.

Earlier this month, Ashcroft approved the trio of questions to be placed on the general election ballot that would make Missouri the 31st state to legalize pot.

Bradshaw, who also is a doctor, has self-financed one of those questions. His initiative, called Find the Cures, would impose a 15 percent tax on medical pot sales to finance a state institute to conduct research on cancer and other diseases.

Bradshaw is the sole contributor to the campaign, personally loaning his initiative more than $1 million.

A second initiative by a group known as New Approach Missouri asks voters for approval to impose a 4 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, which would go toward veterans’ health care. The state estimates the proposal would generate $18 million in fees and sales tax each year.

The third initiative, sponsored by Missourians for Patient Care, would change state statutes to make marijuana legal for medical use and impose a 2 percent retail tax on medical marijuana, channeling revenue to early childhood education, veterans care, public safety and drug treatment.

Bradshaw's lawsuit against New Approach Missouri alleges the group collected signatures without a petition circulator present. It also claims unregistered voters signed the petition.

"New Approach ... ran an intentional, systematic, pervasive, and ubiquitous pattern of instructing individuals to violate the legal requirements of the petition signature gathering process," the suit notes.

In the lawsuit against Missourians for Patient Care, Bradshaw said the group failed to collect enough signatures in the 5th Congressional District. Specifically, he said the effort fell at least one short of the more than 16,300 need to qualify for the ballot. The lawsuit does not outline which signatures were invalid.

Jack Cardetti, spokesman for New Approach Missouri, said the organization turned in the most signatures of the trio of initiatives.

“That really shows the strength of the Amendment 2 campaign,” Cardetti said. “Brad Bradshaw has filed a frivolous lawsuit to try to get done in court what he won’t be able to get done at the ballot box.”

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