Nebraska Secretary of State: Marijuana to be on November Ballot

marijuana card

Nebraska Secretary of State: Marijuana to be on November Ballot

It’s official: Nebraska voters will have the opportunity, this November (in a little over two months on November 4), to legalize marijuana for all uses for everyone 21 and older.

The announcement comes from Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen, who confirmed that proponents of the initiative have collected enough valid signatures (meaning they are from registered Nebraska voters) to qualify the measure for the general-election ballot. According to the Associated Press, Evnen, a Republican, rejected a request by marijuana opponents to block the measure, as he did this week with a proposal to allow casino gambling. Evnen said opponents raised several valid points about problems with the ballot measure’s language, but he ultimately concluded that it met all the legal requirements necessary to go before voters.

“It was a close case,” he said in an interview.

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The AP notes that Evnen said he’s certain that marijuana opponents will challenge his decision before the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Those behind the legalization initiative say they’re highly confident that the measure will survive a legal challenge and argue that medical marijuana has strong support in Nebraska.

“Mark Fahleson, a Lincoln attorney and former Nebraska Republican Party chairman, argued in a Wednesday letter to Evnen that the measure violates the state constitution”, states the AP. “Fahleson said in the letter that the ballot measure fails to follow Nebraska’s single-subject rule, which bars petition sponsors from bunching multiple issues into one yes-or-no question for voters to decide.”

Fahleson argued that the ballot measure poses two separate questions: whether residents should have the right to use marijuana for medical purposes, and whether private companies should be allowed to grow and sell it.

The Nebraska ballot measure would guarantee a constitutional right to use and grow marijuana if a doctor recommends it with no restrictions on what diseases qualify. It would only ban smoking marijuana in public places. If voters approve it in the 2020 general election, patients would be free to grow an “adequate” supply.

According to the AP both the marijuana measure is viewed as widely popular with Nebraska voters, but it faces strong opposition from Governor Pete Ricketts.

If Nebraska voters do decide to legalize marijuana this November, they would become the 12th state to do so: All 12 have legalized since 2012. Prior to 2012 there was not one legal recreational marijuana state in the U.S., although a couple dozen at that point had legalized marijuana as a medicine. On the global level, only Canada and Uruguay have legalized recreational marijuana across their entire country.

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