Nebraska joins many states trying to get medical marijuana on the November ballot. The state needed 121,669 signatures for this achievement. After months of setbacks and a pandemic, the state has submitted around 182,000 signatures. Unfortunately, a law firm alleges the measure violates the state’s “single-subject” rule.
“As much as we want to celebrate, there’s no time to waste,” said campaign co-chairs Sens. Anna Wishart (D) and Adam Morfield (D). “Nebraskans will begin casting their ballots next month, and we have to quickly ramp up our efforts to fight back against a very well-funded opposition campaign.”
The First Step
Although, unfortunately, legal troubles have already reached the measure, this is still a great first step for Nebraska. The state has struggled for years to get any kind of medical cannabis in motion. Fortunately, both campaign co-chairs believe there is “no doubt that we met the constitutional requirements for signature collection.”
There are many reasons why Nebraska has struggled to gain support for medical cannabis. Most often, the opposition blocks the bills before any momentum can occur. Last year, Nebraska’s attorney general denounced all cannabis legislation, claiming it unconstitutional by being preempted by federal law. Luckily, this movement has grown in popularity. Advocacy groups, such as Marijuana Policy Project, are helping states, Like Nebraska, achieve these goals.
“We couldn’t have done that without the support of tens of thousands of Nebraskans across the state,” Wishart said. “This is overwhelming evidence that voters want medical marijuana on the ballot and legal for patients with serious and debilitating health conditions.”
Hopefully, this measure could do a lot for Nebraskans. First of all, it would allow physicians the ability to recommend medical cannabis to patients. Next, it would allow those patients the ability to purchase, possess, and consume a certain amount of medical cannabis. Finally, this measure would allow medical cannabis patients to discreetly cultivate at home.
The Single-Subject Rule
This seems like an incredible opportunity with many different aspects to it. Unfortunately, that’s the root of the problem for one law firm. In Nebraska, the language used within measures must be very specific to avoid covering multiple issues at once. In other words, the measure proposed cannot create doubt as to what exactly will be authorized if passed.
This is one of the most common issues when it comes to cannabis legalization. Most states who have successfully submitted enough signatures typically submit two separate measures. One that establishes the cannabis market and what is within it, and another establishing the age and regulations to use cannabis. Submitting one measure for medical marijuana can easily include several other implications. In defense, Sen. Morfeld claims all language used within the measure is based on Supreme Court precedent and is constitutional.
It seems like Nebraska has a lot of work on their hands if they want to establish a medical cannabis program in the state. Luckily, the state has many advocates behind them this time. Many of them believe the state has the ability to legalize medical cannabis by November.
“Just like we succeeded in the signature drive, our campaign can’t win at the ballot box without your help,” the Nebraska for Medical Marijuana Facebook post reads. “Nebraskans have made their voices clear that they want a chance to vote on medical marijuana in November—now let’s win.”