Nebraska's Medical Marijuana Initiative Taken Off Election Ballot

In a devastating ruling, the Nebraskan High Court has voted: Nebraskan's for Medical Marijuana Initiative will be taken off the state election ballot.

It was a devastating blow for the Nebraskan's for Medical Marijuana Initiative last week. The Nebraskan High Court has overruled Secretary of State, Bob Evnen's decision to add the medical marijuana amendment to the state election ballot.

Nebraskan citizens will no longer have the chance to vote for the state-wide inclusion of a medical marijuana program.

With a five to two vote, the state's Supreme Court ruled that the initiative "caused confusion" regarding the state law's "single subject" rule. This rule limits any initiative to a single subject.

In this case, the use of medical marijuana, and the production of marijuana are two separate issues. As a result, the high court agreed with the appeal made by Lancaster County Sheriff, Terry Wagner.

According to the ruling, the "general subject and various other provisions lack any natural and necessary connection with each other. We agree."

The Nebraskan's for Medical Marijuana Initiative took to social media last week to share the news.

We just heard and the news is not good. Like all of you, we are absolutely devastated by the Supreme Court ruling. But…Posted by Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana on Thursday, 10 September 2020

Nebraskan's for Medical Marijuana, Friday September 10, 2020

The ruling effectively ends an otherwise successful campaign. The initiative continued to rally support during lockdowns imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite not being able to collect signatures between March and May, the campaign still filed almost 200,000 signatures in July.

The ruling has come as a shock to everyone involved. In a press release last week, the initiative expressed their disappointment to the questionable ruling.

"Here's the bottom line: You cannot have a right to medical marijuana for medical purposes if you do not have access to a supply. There is a natural and necessary connection and thus a singular purpose, and this does not violate the single subject rule."Nebraskan's For Medical Marijuana – Press Release, September 11, 2020.

The ruling has left advocates nothing short of shocked and outraged.

Deputy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, Matthew Schweich released a statement commenting on the devastating news. "This is an outrageous and deeply flawed decision by a group of activist judges," says Schweich.

"Our opponents are cowards. They use insider political tactics because they cannot win this debate. Medical marijuana will be legal in Nebraska one day," Schweich continues.

Apprehension surrounding the success of the ballot measure was expressed in August by Secretary Evnen. Despite the overwhelming support for the initiative, he described his decision to approve the amendment as "a close call".

In a dissenting opinion, Justices Jonathan Papik and Lindsey Miller-Lerman both expressed their support of the connections made within the "general subject".

In conjunction with Evnen's ruling, the primary purpose of the initiative was "to create a constitutional right for persons with serious medical conditions to produce and medicinally use cannabis."

In other words, how can one possibly "use" marijuana without allowing for the "production" of it?

Unfortunately, this was not enough to convince the other five Justices.

Regardless of the ruling, the cause still receives a deluge of support. Nebraskan citizens continue to vocalize the robbery of a public vote. One commenter wrote, "WE as a state deserve better. Thank you for everything and keep up the fight for what's right".

Meanwhile, the initiative is already making plans for the future, including "launching a new 2022 medical cannabis ballot initiative."

As it stands, the fight will continue on. In his statement, Schweich refuses to back down. "We lost this battle but we will undoubtedly win the war. We'll be back."

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Taylor Ridewood
Taylor Ridewood

Taylor is a Sydney-based writer with a background in psychology and professional writing. She has a keen interest in the benefits of medicinal cannabis and enjoys researching the multi-faceted effects of cannabis on the body and mind.

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