Nebraska lawmakers hear new pitch for medical marijuana
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska lawmaker who is a leading supporter of medical marijuana warned her fellow senators Wednesday that the issue will likely appear on the 2022 ballot if they don’t pass a legalization measure this year.
Sen. Anna Wishart, of Lincoln, said advocates will propose a one-sentence ballot measure through a citizen-led petition drive if the bill in the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee doesn’t become law.
A divided Nebraska Supreme Court stripped a legalization measure off the ballot last year after concluding that its wording violated the state constitution’s single-subject rule, which bars activists from bunching multiple issues into a single yes-or-no question for voters to address.
The court ruled, 5-2, that the ballot measure at the time contained multiple subjects, including the right to use cannabis, the right to grow it, and how to regulate it.
The new ballot proposal seeks to avoid that problem so it can survive a legal challenge, but it would make the legalization measure much broader, with fewer regulations.
Several senators on the Judiciary Committee said they’re confident the new ballot measure will pass this time if lawmakers don’t act on it. Opponents, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, said they’re concerned about unintended health consequences.