A Nebraska senator introduced an amendment to the Nebraska Constitution on Thursday that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. The proposed amendment would be voted on by voters in the state's constitution, but if pushed by Nebraska's legislature, it would be on the ballot for the first time in the state's history.
The amendment would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and would oblige state legislators to pass a regulated law by October 1, 2023. The proposed change follows successful efforts by activists to legalize medical marijuana in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. in recent years.
Supporters of the ballot measure filed more than 182,000 signatures in July, and the following month Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen announced that the measure had collected enough signatures to qualify for a vote, certifying it to be in the November 2020 election. However, this decision was challenged by Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner, who filed a motion to prevent the initiative from appearing on the ballot papers because it contained misleading wording and violated rules that limited initiatives to one issue.
The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the lawsuit, ruling that the provisions governing retail and home-growing - among other things - were not sufficiently related to the legalization of the medical use of cannabis. In its closing argument, the court wrote that voters who want to intelligently pursue a state policy on medical cannabis use must have the ability to decide this issue alone without being burdened by any other issue. The NMCCA covers more than one issue as proposed and, by our count, it covers at least eight issues.