The Legal Marijuana Now Party in Nebraska has received enough signatures to officially certify the party as legitimate.
After six years of trying, the Legal Marijuana Now Party in Nebraska has finally received the necessary amount of signatures to make the party official.
The party's founder, Mark Elworth Jr., a Democratic Party nominee for Congress in District 3, had come up short in legitimizing the Legal Marijuana Now Party four years ago when he failed to get the required amount of signatures. This year, however, he went above and beyond the 6,800 signatures needed to certify, with Elworth Jr. turning in 15,000 signatures that he had accumulated for years.
Speaking about why he started the initiative, Elworth stated that
"[Legal Marijuana Now] is focusing right now on the legalization of medical marijuana and has been in all 50 states."
While receiving the necessary signatures is certainly a win for the party, it's too late for the party to have ballot access in November 2020, according to Cindi Allen, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State's office.
So, Elworth has stated that his aim is to keep young voters engaged and to discourage them from leaving the state.
"We need to stop that. We need to put up a fight. We can't let our people go," he said. "We want to give people hope. They think that this is hopeless."
It's believed that the continual rejection of marijuana initiatives has discouraged young Nebraskans, and is motivating them to consider leaving the state en masse. For example, a recent initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state received over 180,000 signatures but was removed last week on a technicality.
Elworth continued to address his underlying motivations to the party to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News:
"We're marijuana smokers. You can imagine what we're about. We're really about the lifestyle. Not just marijuana. We're a whole culture that is not represented, really, by anybody."
The signatures received by Elworth and the Legal Marijuana Now Party will be processed after the November election, and if they're found to be sufficient, the Party will be legitimized in 2022. During that time, Elworth has stated that he will focus on registering more people for the party and continuing to raise visibility for marijuana-related issues.
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