Medical Marijuana Petition Drive Running Strong In Nebraska

Nebraska lawmakers have rejected medical marijuana bills three times

Organizers of a petition drive to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska say they’re hitting their early signature goals with help from an all-volunteer network, but opponents are mobilizing to fight the measure if it appears on the 2020 ballot.

Volunteers have already gathered more than 15,000 signatures in their quest to place the issue before voters in the 2020 general election, and campaign organizers haven’t even started using paid signature collectors, who are generally needed to ensure a successful petition drive.

“We keep picking up momentum, and we feel like we’re hitting our goals,” said state Sen. Anna Wishart, a co-chair of Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws. “Right now, we’ve got people volunteering in many counties across the state. That’s how popular this is.”

The ballot measure would guarantee a constitutional right to buy, use and grow marijuana if a doctor recommends it, with no restrictions on which medical needs qualify. It also would allow users to smoke the drug in homes or other private settings and prevent state lawmakers from imposing an undue burden on access to the drug. If voters approve the measure, users would be allowed to grow an “adequate” supply.

Nebraska lawmakers have rejected medical marijuana bills three times, even though some of the measures would have banned marijuana smoking and imposed tight controls on how much one person can possess. Frustrated with the Legislature’s unwillingness to legalize the drug, activists have shifted their focus to the kind of ballot initiative that succeeded in Utah, Oklahoma and other conservative states. Medical marijuana is already legal in 34 states and Washington, D.C. Ten states and Washington have legalized recreational use.

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