Sheriff’s Lawsuit Challenges Nebraska Medical Cannabis Initiative

Sheriff Terry Wagner of Lancaster County filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging Nebraska’s medical cannabis voter initiative. Initiative organizers say they will fight and overcome the challenge.

Full story after the jump.

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner on Friday filed a challenge against Nebraska’s medical cannabis voter initiative, the Associated Press reports. The lawsuit, which will be heard by the state Supreme Court, argues that the measure poses two separate questions – whether or not to allow individuals to use medical cannabis and whether private companies should be able to grow it – and, therefore, violates state rules.

The lawsuit was filed the day after Secretary of State Bob Evnen approved the signatures collected by Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana to put the issue to voters in November.

In an email to supporters, the legalization campaign – headed by Democratic State Senators Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld – said they “have no choice but to fight this in court” and have “assembled an experienced team of attorneys” to help fight the challenge.

Evnen, a Republican, had rejected the two-issue argument last week prior to validating the campaign’s signature requirements. In his determination letter, Evnen said that the “production and sale of medical cannabis has a natural and necessary connection to legalization of medical cannabis for individual use” and that private companies “are given the right to manufacture, sell and distribute the medications.”

“It is inherent in the legalization of medical cannabis that someone or some category of persons must be granted the right or authority to produce, sell, and distribute the medical cannabis. It is possible that some voters may not like all of the details provided for the Amendment related to legalizing cannabis in the state. These voters will be able to express their dislike in the polls, however, the possibility of other police choices does not in and of itself create a dual purpose.” – Evnen, Medical Cannabis Initiative Determination, August 27, 2020

In the letter, Evnen noted that the challenge came in the “eleventh hour” as the initiative must be approved – and not in legal limbo – by September 11 in order to qualify for general election ballots.

The legalization campaign said they would overcome the challenge.

“Common sense, compassion, and the law are on our side,” they said.

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