Appeals court rules against Nebraska medical cannabis backers

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A federal appeals court dealt a setback to Nebraska medical marijuana advocates by granting the state a stay in a case involving signature requirements for a legalization ballot initiative.

According to Omaha broadcaster KMTV, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted the stay after Secretary of State Bob Evnen appealed a lower court ruling that MMJ proponents did not need to meet a threshold requiring signatures to come from at least 5% of registered voters in a minimum of 38 Nebraska counties.

The state of Nebraska had sought a stay of the lower court’s preliminary injunction.

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has been rushing to collect roughly 87,000 signatures from registered voters before a July 7 deadline to put the legalization initiative the November ballot.

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The group claimed that the signature-distribution requirement violated the U.S. Constitution, arguing the provision gives rural counties greater power than urban counties, according to KMTV.

NMM representative Crista Eggers told the broadcaster the group would continue collecting signatures up until Thursday’s deadline.