Nebraska medical marijuana referendum takes key step

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Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana says it has obtained the minimum number of signatures needed on two petitions aimed at putting MMJ legalization on the state ballot in November.

“The finish line is absolutely in sight, but not without all hands on deck,” Chris Eggers, the campaign manager for the group, told the Nebraska Examiner.

The MMJ legalization campaign has collected at least 55,000 signatures in the required 38 counties on each of its petitions, according to the news outlet.

The Examiner noted that “volunteers are now shifting their work to get at least 87,000 verified voter signatures on each petition before July 3. ”

This is the third petition drive designed to get medical marijuana approved in Nebraska.

In 2020, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana gathered enough signatures and also met a requirement that at least 5% of voters in 38 of Nebraska’s counties sign the petition.

But the state’s Supreme Court disqualified the measure, arguing that it violated Nebraska’s “single-subject rule” for ballot measures.

That rule bars activists from bunching multiple issues into a single yes-or-no question for voters to address.

Specifically, MMJ opponents took issue with provisions that would allow the use of MMJ as well as in-state production of the products, among other issues.

Then, in 2022, petition signature collectors failed to get enough signatures in the minimum number of counties.

According to the Examiner, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen said in September that legalizing marijuana “poses demonstrated harms to our children” and that access to MMJ should happen only if the drug gains U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.