By JUSTIN WISE / The Hill
A pair of Nebraska state senators on Tuesday filed a ballot initiative for official review that would give citizens of the state the chance to vote on legalizing medical marijuana.
State Sens. Anna Wishart (D) and Adam Morfeld (D) submitted their proposed language on behalf of Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, a political committee working to pass marijuana reform, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
The newspaper noted that the filing shows an intention to place the initiative on the November 2020 ballot.
“We have evidence showing that it helps,” Wishart said of medical marijuana. “So to deny people access to that, to me, is tragic. And that’s why we are pushing for this initiative on two fronts.”
The initiative would give Nebraska residents the opportunity to use, possess and access cannabis products and equipment if they received a recommendation from a doctor or nurse practitioner. It would also include provisions allowing people to produce an adequate supply of cannabis.
Morfeld and Wishart have said their preference would be to pass the measure in the state legislature, the Journal Star noted. Wishart has already introduced a bill this session.
A handful of public figures in Nebraska have already spoken out against the measure.
Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), Attorney General Doug Peterson (R) and former Husker football coach and former Rep. Tom Osborne (R) recently appeared at a news conference to condemn efforts to pass marijuana reforms.
But Wishart said to the Journal Star that she doesn’t think the “opposition has stopped what I see as a groundswell of support in Nebraska to legalize medical marijuana.”
Wishart added to the newspaper that she is working with the Judiciary Committee to answer questions about her proposed bill, LB110. Her hope is to get it out of the committee and onto the Legislature floor for debate.
Multiple bills to legalize medical marijuana have been introduced in recent years in Nebraska. But none has gained the needed votes to pass in the state senate.
Meanwhile, Wishart told the Journal Star that Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws would ensure their initiative passes all reviews before moving forward to collect signatures.
Morfeld added that the ballot initiative group would need to collect between 130,000 and 140,000 signatures and turn them in by July 2020 in order for the measure to be placed on the ballot.
The proposed initiative comes as more states ease laws about marijuana use, and as Americans, according to polls, become more open to legalizing the drug for medical and recreational use.
Michigan became the 10th state last November to pass a bill allowing adults over 21 to legally use recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and Washington, D.C.