Nebraska advocates purpose to legalize marijuana in 2022
Earlier this year, a last-minute legal matter and lawsuit ended the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska’s national November 3rd vote.
Despite the fact that proponents gathered more than enough signatures, the Nebraska Supreme Court rejected the initiative in September largely because of its wording.
Lawyers in Cornhusker State replied: Good. Let’s do medicine and recreation in 2022.
Advocacy group Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana announced on Sunday that it will launch election initiatives in January 2021 for the “full use of cannabis by adults”. The group’s leaders, Senators Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld, both from Lincoln, cited the general dynamics of the movement across the country as evidence that it made sense to think bigger.
Nebraska Supreme Court Kills 2020 Medical Marijuana Initiative
The state Supreme Court ended the 2020 offer
Previously, these supporters of the campaign to get medical cannabis to a nationwide vote garnered 182,000 signatures – slightly more than the 122,000 they needed. The initiative would have changed Nebraska’s state constitution to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Secretary of State Bob Evnen upheld the petitions, but a county sheriff opposed the initiative, arguing that, among other things, it violated the requirement that constitutional issues be one-subject.
The election question was clearly only about medical marijuana. However, the Nebraska Supreme Court jumped on board and ruled that the question actually had eight themes – that some of the languages embedded in the law, such as the prohibition of smoking marijuana in public, other constituted different constitutional rights and guidelines.
The Supreme Court decision ended Nebraska’s 2020 legalization offer, but Wishart and Morfeld vowed to keep fighting.
A boost from neighboring countries
When South Dakota became the 15th state to legalize medical and adult use on November 3, the Nebraska Senators had fresh ammunition. Now two of Nebraska’s neighboring states (Colorado is the other) have been fully legalized.
The Senators also referred to the historic vote in the US House of Representatives last Friday to decriminalize marijuana as further evidence of the inevitable.
“People in rural conservative areas are open to not only medicinal marijuana but recreational use,” Morfeld told the Lincoln Journal Star. He wrote on Twitter, “We’ll have full marijuana legalization in Nebraska by 2022 when it’s the last thing we do.”
Wishart told the newspaper it was “common sense” to pass full adult legalization as two neighboring states have already done so, and Nebraskans could face criminal charges for legally buying products and bringing them home in Colorado or South Dakota .
She also cited the various benefits of taxing cannabis, from lowering property taxes to funding better mental health.
More resistance expected from the elected
Although many other red states have adopted cannabis for medicinal purposes – Oklahoma is another notable example – heads of state retain an unreconstructed view of such initiatives. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts fought the medical cannabis proposal and is likely to try to prevent further legalization efforts as well.
And Nebraska’s attorney general wrote in a 2019 statement that attempts at legalization would be prevented by federal law and “would therefore be unconstitutional.” This argument is new because federal law already conflicts with state law in all 15 states for adults, but the federal conflict has not prevented state legalization laws from acting and functioning effectively.
The showdown is scheduled for 2022. Stay tuned.
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Dave Howard is a national magazine editor and award-winning author. His most recent book is Chasing Phil: The Adventures of Two Undercover Agents with the World’s Most Charming Deceiver.
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