A petition to get medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot in Nebraska is officially available for voters to sign after the secretary of state approved the initiative’s language on Friday.
Because the state legislature has rejected multiple legislative attempts to establish a medical cannabis program, Sens. Adam Morfeld (D) and Anna Wishart (D) joined with activists to form a committee last year to put the issue before voters instead.
The initiative would “amend the Nebraska Constitution to provide the rights to use, possess, access, and safely produce cannabis, and cannabis products and materials, for serious medical conditions as recommended by a physician or nurse practitioner,” according to the ballot title.
The text of the measure was filed with the secretary of state for approval earlier this month.
“Today, the Nebraska secretary of state approved our petitions, which allows the campaign to shift into the next phase of the ballot qualification process: signature collecting,” Wishart told Marijuana Moment in an email. “Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws will soon be launching a volunteer signature drive across the state, and we are encouraging supporters to join that effort by signing up through our website nebraskamarijuana.org.”
Morfeld shared an image of the finalized petition on Twitter.
Medical Marijuana constitutional initiative signature petitions are in and official! Sign up at https://t.co/0VXqRxrIBf to sign up for updates on where to sign when we start collection efforts in the later in the year! #MedicalMarijuana pic.twitter.com/RtAbhvSl5t
— Senator Adam Morfeld (@Adam_Morfeld) March 1, 2019
In order to qualify the constitutional amendment for the Nebraska ballot, 10 percent of the state’s registered voters must now sign the petition. The law also requires signatures from five percent of registered voters in at least 38 out of 93 counties for it to be approved.
“In the meantime, we will continue to push for a legislative solution that would provide access to patients sooner than a 2020 ballot initiative,” Wishart said.
But there are serious obstacles for the medical cannabis bill Wishart filed this session. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), for one, has made clear his intent to veto the legislation were it to arrive on his desk.
So far, the bill has at least received a hearing, which involved lengthy testimony from advocates and opponents last month, in the unicameral legislature’s Judiciary Committee.
But given the resistance to reform in the chamber and the governor’s entrenched opposition, it seems like a ballot initiative is the state’s best chance of getting a medical marijuana system in the short-term.
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.