By John Payne
I realize that everyone is very excited about starting a signature gathering campaign immediately, but please remember that we are still not certain about a 2014 campaign. When we were drafting the proposed amendments, the goal was always to have legalization on the ballot by 2016. We hoped it could be done in 2014, but it was always an outside shot.
According to the conventional wisdom, a legalization campaign in an off-year election like 2014, in a conservative-leaning state like Missouri should be doomed to failure. I think that conventional wisdom is wrong, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That is why we need to wait for the polling results, which we should have in the next 15 days, and to formulate our plans around what is politically possible.
I desperately want to win this year, but I also understand that it's better to take a sure thing in 2016 than gamble and lose in 2014. If we wait for the next election cycle, we can refile an initiative that has already been approved and given satisfactory ballot language by the Secretary of State and on which we will have already conducted polling. Either way, we have positioned ourselves to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri far sooner than almost anyone thought possible until very recently.
I can't guarantee that legalization will happen this year or in 2016, but I know it's coming. We are winning, but overplaying our hand would be just as dangerous as losing the momentum.