Nebraska activists, including state Sen. Anna Wishart (D), are renewing their push to put a medical cannabis legalization question to voters, KOLN reports. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana – which is co-chaired by Wishart – need 160,000 to 180,000 signatures by July to get the issue on the ballot.
The organization is working with ADOPT, a legalization group headed by former state senator Tom Garret, and 1st Tuesday Campaigns, a national strategy and consulting firm that has a “100 percent success rate of qualifying … signature initiatives,” Wishart told KOLN.
“What we’ve seen with polling is resoundingly over 70 percent of Nebraskans across the state. Across demographics, across age groups, rural and urban support legalizing access to medical marijuana.” – Wishart to KOLN
Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts opposes the initiative campaign and has penned at least three weekly columns in opposition of medical cannabis reforms. In a column last May, Ricketts argued that medical cannabis legalization is a gateway to adult-use. In a January column, the governor claims that cannabis activists “have been trying to circumvent the medical research process that has helped [the] country produce the most safe and effective healthcare in the world” and points out that the Food and Drug Administration has already approved four medications derived from cannabis.
“While attempts to circumvent the FDA review process may be driven by good will, any legalization effort outside this process puts Nebraskans at risk,” Ricketts wrote in a 2015 column titled Marijuana is a Dangerous Drug. “For this reason, marijuana should not receive special treatment.”
In an interview with KOLN, Ricketts said that voters would “hear the truth” about the dangers of medical cannabis and blamed the tobacco and cannabis industries for pushing medical cannabis legalization in the state.
“This is a bunch of outside money that big industry is trying to avoid regulations,” Ricketts said in the report.
The activist coalition has set up 70 locations throughout the state where citizens can sign petitions. If approved, Nebraska would be the 34th state to legalize medical cannabis.