Nebraska review raises hopes medical marijuana legalization may make ballot

An effort to get medical marijuana legalization on Nebraska’s ballot in November remains alive after the secretary of state acquiesced to a request from cannabis advocates to review petition signatures that had not been previously looked at.

Secretary of State Bob Evnen announced he had agreed to the signature review only days after his office determined the legalization campaign seeking to get two initiatives on the ballot didn’t submit enough valid signatures.

But Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, the group behind both initiatives, requested the review after learning some signatures were not counted, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

The group submitted about 98,000 signatures for each ballot proposal, about 11% more than the 86,776 signatures required.

However, Evnen’s office determined that a medical marijuana regulation initiative received only 77,119 valid signatures and a patient-protections initiative tallied only 77,843.

If the recount does succeed, cannabis advocates might face another hurdle.

Nebraska law mandates that signatures must be gathered from at least 5% of registered voters from at least 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties. The two MMJ initiatives met the 5% requirement in only 27 counties, according to the secretary of state’s office.