Nebraska State Sen. Justin Wayne (D) has introduced a measure to put a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis to voters in 2022, the Omaha World-Herald reports. Previous legislative attempts to legalize cannabis for medical use in the state have failed.
Wayne’s proposal will be opposed by most Republican lawmakers – who hold majorities in the Legislature – along with Gov. Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, who are also Republicans. However, Sen. Adam Morfeld, a Democrat that has led previous cannabis-related petition campaigns – said a debate on legalization could help educate lawmakers and the general public about the reforms.
“It’s important that we have multiple approaches. If we can’t get it passed in the Legislature, we’ll collect another 125,000 signatures to get it on the ballot.” – Morefeld to the World-Herald
Democratic State Sen. Amy Wishart last month said she was working on ballot language for full adult-use legalization but has yet to unveil the measure.
In October, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana launched a medical cannabis petition drive to put the issue to voters in 2022. The language of the proposal simply states: “Persons in the State of Nebraska shall have the right to cannabis in all its forms for medical purposes.” In September, the state Supreme Court threw out the group’s 2020 initiative ruling it violated the single-issue rule imposed on voter initiatives.
Wayne’s proposal would appear on ballots with the following language:
“A constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis for persons twenty-one years of age or older and to require the Legislature to enact laws relating to cannabis.”
Wayne told the World-Herald that he believes, if given the option, voters would approve the reforms and that there is no reason to wait for the petition drive to get the referendum on midterm ballots.
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