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Activists in Nebraska on Friday unveiled the language of a pair of initiatives to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Supporters now have until July of next year to collect thousands of voters’ signatures to put the measures on the 2022 ballot.
The petition campaign to qualify the two initiatives will begin Saturday in Lincoln, near a University of Nebraska football game at Memorial Stadium, where defenders say they plan to “take advantage of the crowds” to “kickstart the game. ‘effort “.
Together, the two initiatives of Medical Marijuana (NMM) would protect qualified patients from the legal consequences of cannabis and regulate the companies that produce, distribute and sell marijuana products to these patients. Advocates say they are done waiting for lawmakers to act on the issue and will instead bring the issue directly to voters.
“It is frustrating that politicians have ignored the will of the people and denied my son and thousands of other patients the compassion they deserve,” said Nicole Hochstein, MNM Volunteer Coordinator for Cedar County and mother of an 11-year-old diagnosed with epilepsy. “But this election campaign gives hope to families like ours. We see democracy in action today.
Repeated pressure to legalize through the state’s unicameral legislature has fizzled out, most recently in May following a Republican-led obstruction. And in 2019, the state attorney general argued in an opinion that efforts to legalize medical marijuana would be pre-empted by federal law and “would, therefore, be unconstitutional.”
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana announced the new election campaign just hours after the latest legislative effort failed. The group revealed in August that it would continue the policy change through a two-initiative campaign, and earlier last month it submitted the proposed voting measures to state officials for initial approval. The language of the two initiatives was not made public until Friday, however.
This is the second time that Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has continued the ballot for cannabis reform. While they collected enough signatures to qualify a measure as medical marijuana legalization for the 2020 poll, the state Supreme Court struck down on the grounds that it violated the one-subject rule. of the State, which limits the scope of citizens’ initiatives. This is why the current campaign has split the proposal into two measures, which defenders hope to qualify and adopt en bloc.
The proposed initiatives working together, one removing legal penalties for cannabis for any qualified patient and the other creating a new agency, the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commission, to register and regulate companies that supply cannabis to patients.
Under the first measure, the Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Act, patients would be defined as anyone who has received a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis for therapeutic purposes, although people under the age of 18 would also have need the written permission of a parent or legal guardian. He would state that under national and local law, patients would be allowed to “use, possess and acquire a permissible amount of cannabis and cannabis accessories to relieve a medical condition, its symptoms or the side effects of treatment. affection. “Designated custodians could also own and acquire cannabis for patients.
The proposal would set the “allowable amount” of marijuana at a maximum of five ounces, not including the weight of ingredients other than cannabis in foods, beverages, topicals or other infused products. It does not appear to contain any provision allowing patients to grow their own cannabis.
The second measure, the Medical Cannabis Regulation Act, would put in place a state system to oversee the medical marijuana market itself. It would establish the Medical Cannabis Commission, which would adopt rules, regulations and standards by July 2023. The agency would be required to start granting registrations – in effect licenses to engage in cannabis-related activities – by October of the same year.
While regulatory details would be set by the commission, the proposed initiative says cannabis products would include, among other things, edibles, ointments and tinctures. It also specifically mentions the delivery of the product.
The measure would allow registered cannabis companies, as well as their employees and agents, to “possess, manufacture, distribute, deliver and distribute cannabis for medical purposes, provided that such conduct complies with applicable rules and regulations. adopted and promulgated by Nebraska. Medical Marijuana Commission. It does not include any mention of taxes or fees.
The commission would be made up of the three members of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission and a maximum of two additional members appointed by the governor and confirmed by a majority of lawmakers.
In a video posted to Facebook this week, the group described how Nebraska’s initiative process works and encouraged supporters to get involved.
State Senator Anna Wishart (D), who is working with the NMM on the effort and is due to join the signature-gathering effort in Lincoln on Saturday, said in a statement that the proposal is “fundamentally d ‘have compassion for those who are suffering. “
“I have personally spoken about this issue with voters in dozens of counties in Nebraska, including some of the more rural areas of the state,” Wishart said. “There is a wave of grassroots support for this issue, regardless of someone’s political background or their views on other issues. “
She and her fellow Democratic Senator Adam Morfeld said late last year that they would also work to pose the question of legalizing adult marijuana to voters in 2022, but it is not clear whether a recreational measure is still in progress.
Crista Eggers, director of the signature campaign for Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, told Marijuana Moment in June that the plan was to “fill up in mass” from this summer to collect signatures.
The group had previously floated the idea of adding a short constitutional amendment to the mix that would simply state that people “in the state of Nebraska will have the right to cannabis in all its forms for medical purposes.” But this plan was abandoned in favor of the new twin measures.
As part of the medical cannabis initiative blocked in Nebraska last year, doctors could have recommended marijuana to patients with debilitating health conditions. These patients would then have been allowed to own, buy and cultivate marijuana “quietly” for personal use.
Each of the two newly unveiled voting metrics will need 87,000 supporting signatures from registered voters to qualify for the 2022 ballot. the court – they submitted almost 200,000 signatures.
By 2022, Nebraska isn’t the only state where voters might see cannabis reform on the ballot.
Activists in Florida recently filed a ballot measure to legalize marijuana for adult use.
South Dakota marijuana activists are now bracing for a signature-gathering effort to put marijuana legalization on the 2022 ballot as the state’s Supreme Court continues to consider a case over the fate of the legal cannabis measure that voters approved last year.
New Hampshire lawmakers are pursuing a new strategy to legalize marijuana in the state that involves putting a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for voters to vote in 2022.
Maryland lawmakers are also drafting legislation to hold a referendum on legalizing marijuana in the 2022 poll after the Speaker of the House called for the decision.
Activists in Ohio recently crossed a final hurdle to start collecting signatures for a 2022 polling initiative to legalize marijuana in the state.
Missouri voters could see several marijuana initiatives on the state ballot next year, with a new group tabling a proposal to legalize adult use that could rival separate reform measures that are already in progress.
Arkansas advocates are collecting signatures to put legalization of adult marijuana on the ballot.
Activists in Idaho are working to push forward separate measures to legalize possession of recreational marijuana and to create a system for the legal sale of medical cannabis. State officials recently allowed activists to start collecting signatures for a revised initiative to legalize possession of marijuana that they hope to present to voters in the 2022 poll. Meanwhile, a separate campaign to legalize medical cannabis in the state is also underway, with advocates actively collecting signatures to qualify the measure for next year’s poll.
After a bill passed by the House to legalize marijuana in North Dakota was defeated by the Senate in March, some senators hatched a plan to move the issue forward by sending it back to voters in the 2022 poll. As their resolution progressed through a key committee, the entire Senate blocked it. However, activists from the North Dakota Cannabis Caucus are collecting signatures to qualify a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis for the 2022 poll.
Oklahoma advocates are pushing two separate initiatives to legalize adult marijuana and overhaul the state’s existing medical cannabis program.
The Wyoming Attorney General recently released poll summaries for proposed initiatives to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize possession of cannabis, allowing activists to collect signatures to qualify for the 2022 poll.
And it’s not just the marijuana measures that reform activists seek to qualify for state polls next year. A California campaign was recently allowed to begin collecting signatures for an initiative to legalize psilocybin. And Washington state advocates have announced plans to present voters with a proposal to decriminalize all drugs.
Read the full text of Nebraska’s medical cannabis voting measures below:
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