By BRAYDON CONELL
Accessibility to cannabis in the United States, both for medicinal and recreational use, has continued to increase state-by-state, despite the plant still being labeled as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. Nebraska has not been immune to this debate.
Senator Anna Wishart of District 27 in Lincoln has pressed state lawmakers to pass a medical cannabis law three times. The most recent debate over the ability of Nebraskans to use cannabis fell short of approval, being struck down once again by the Unicameral in May.
LB 110 was a comprehensive bill that contained a carefully laid out process for the regulation of production, processing, distribution and the use of medical cannabis in Nebraska.
Wishart previously mentioned that if the bill did not succeed here, then it would at the ballot box in 2020.
“In polls from 2017, 70 percent of Nebraskans support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes,” Wishart said.
Wishart hopes that a ballot initiative will help these Nebraskans obtain that which they are asking for.
The ballot initiative officially began in February after Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws submitted the constitutional ballot initiative to the Nebraska Secretary of State for approval.
Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws is a campaign committee that is working to reform Nebraska’s marijuana laws and is co-chaired by State Senators Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld of LD 46 in Lincoln.
“This constitutional amendment is concise and effective, and represents a positive step forward for public health policy in Nebraska,” Wishart said.
The ballot initiative calls for a constitutional amendment. If it passes in 2020, “access to medical marijuana will become a constitutional right,” Morfeld said. The amendment would protect patients using medical marijuana for their symptoms until the legislature enacted detailed regulations into law.
The committee needs about 122,000 valid signatures to qualify the measure to be on the ballot in 2020. Valid signatures must be from citizens of Nebraska that are registered to vote. Organizers plan to gather at least 185,000 signatures to have enough to cover those that get rejected.
As of July 2019, volunteers had already gathered over 15,000 signatures for the petition and the process is still in its early stages. Circulators are gathering signatures at parades, concerts,…