(KTVI) - It is back to square one for Missourians who favor legalizing medical marijuana.
'Outside of some divine intervention, I can`t see a way this gets on the ballot in November,' said John Payne, campaign director for New Approach Missouri, which led a ballot initiative petition drive to get a measure before voters on November 8 to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri.
But on Tuesday, a Cole County judge effectively killed it, by upholding the Missouri Secretary of State`s decision invalidating more than 10,000 signatures from voters who signed the wrong form because they were apparently confused about the county where they are registered to vote.
Without those signatures, the ballot initiative came up short.
'It is definitely disappointing but we knew it was going to be kind of a 50-50 case,' Payne said. 'I was prepared for either outcome, but obviously it is heartbreaking to have it happen like this.'
Especially because those pushing the legalization figured their best chance to pass it would be in a high turnout election.
The next big turnout election will be the midterms in two years.
New Approach Missouri will likely try again, but perhaps as their name suggests, they will take a new approach to collecting signatures.
'If we file our measure after the November election this year, that gives us nearly three times as much time to collect signatures and then we are able to see if we have any issues being short in any congressional district well before our deadline.'
The signatures that were ruled invalid came from the congressional district that includes parts of Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties.