Medical cannabis patients faced major disappointment on September 10 when the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that a cannabis amendment will not appear on this year’s ballot in November.
Although advocates from the Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, they were met with resistance when the amendment was challenged due to alleged grey areas that were considered to be confusing for those seeking medical relief.
After deliberation, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana violated the state constitution, which specifies that ballot measures must speak on only one subject. According to the lawsuit, the cannabis proposal contained eight different subjects, which included mention of setting limits on medical cannabis and banning patients from smoking outside. “The Secretary of State is required by statute to issue determinations as to whether initiative petitions are legally sufficient,” wrote Secretary of State Robert Evnen, who before approved of adding medical cannabis to the ballot. “I did my best to make those determinations on a timely basis in accordance with law. Today the Supreme Court issued its decisions concerning these petitions. I respect the rule of law, and I will certify the ballot in compliance with the Court’s orders.”
However, advocates aren’t giving up; instead they’re making plans for the next possible opportunity, which would be during the 2021 session. “Do not despair—we are going back to the ballot and to the Legislature,” State Sen. Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld said in a message to supporters regarding the loss, speaking of their hope to introduce the bill during the next legislative session.
However, some were content with the ruling. Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has expressed his anti-cannabis opinions in the past, released a statement saying, “I’m pleased with the Nebraska Supreme Court’s decision to keep marijuana off the ballot.”