Nebraska advocates have turned in their petitions to legalize medical cannabis in the state, saying they have exceeded the threshold to put the issue on November ballots, WOWT reports. Organizers for Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) said on Thursday they submitted two petitions, each with more than 90,000 signatures, surpassing the 87,000-signature requirement.
State Senator Anna Wishart (D), a longtime advocate for the reforms, said that two months ago each petition had just 20,000 signatures. The two-pronged effort asks voters to approve the petitions: one requiring lawmakers to pass bills protecting physicians who recommend medical cannabis along with their patients who possess or use the product from criminal penalty and a second question requiring the Legislature to enact measures protecting private companies that produce and supply cannabis for medical purposes.
The group did reach enough signatures to put the issue to Nebraska voters in 2020 but the proposal was struck down by the state Supreme Court on a technicality.
Since 2020, state lawmakers have failed to pass the reforms, which a May survey by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln estimates that in 2020 and 2021, 83% of Nebraskans supported medical cannabis legalization in the state.
The reforms are strongly opposed by Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts who has appeared in an ad-funded by anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) saying cannabis is “not medicine” and, prior to that, remarked during a SAM-hosted press conference that cannabis legalization will “kill…kids.”
After filing the petition on Thursday, NMM Campaign Manager Crista Eggers said the group feels “very good” about their chances of putting the question to voters and, finally, getting the reforms approved.
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