Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana regroups, looks towards 2022 with updated amendment

February 22, 2021

There are only sixteen remaining states where medical marijuana is not legal, and Nebraska is one of them. This is largely because the state leans conservative, making it challenging for lawmakers to pass anything that would loosen marijuana laws. But as an increasing number of states are legalizing various forms of cannabis, many believe that Nebraska is next on its way to join them.

The major organization behind the push for medical marijuana legalization in the state has been Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana. After being founded in 2018, the group filed a petition to include a constitutional amendment to legalize medical cannabis on the 2020 ballot. The petition received almost 200,000 signatures, which is more than enough get the measure on the ballot.

However, before it could be voted on the proposed amendment was struck down in by the Nebraska Supreme Court due to a technicality. Their reasoning was that the proposition had too many items in one document, making it violate Nebraska’s single subject rule for propositions.

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana disagrees with the court’s decision. “It was a very straight forward and short initiative. It didn’t have more than 250 words in the entire thing. Anyone who read it could tell it was about one subject – legalizing medical cannabis,” said Jared Moffat, who works with the Marijuana Policy Project.

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana is now regrouping after the supreme court decision, and they will push forward in 2022 with an updated version of the amendment.

If it ever does make it to the ballot, a proposition to legalize medical marijuana seems to have good chances of passing. In a 2019 survey released by State Senator Anna Wishart, 77 percent of respondents said they would vote “yes” if the measure was put on the ballot.

One reason medical marijuana is gaining popularity is because the drug is rarely addictive and very hard to overdose on, unlike many other pain relievers.

Although it varies heavily state to state, some conditions that can qualify for medical cannabis use include epilepsy, cancer, PTSD and chronic pain. In the states where the drug is legal, a doctor’s prescription is required to access the drug from dispensaries.

But since Nebraskans don’t have any legal access to medical marijuana, “A family that wants to seek this treatment for a loved one is forced to either commit a crime or consider moving to another state where medical marijuana is legal. That that is a very cruel choice to force on families,” Moffat said. “A more compassionate system would allow for medical cannabis.”

For more information about Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, visit nebraskamarijuana.org.

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