Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana collected the required number of valid signatures to get its medical cannabis legalization measure before voters in the 2020 election only to have the Nebraska Supreme Court rule that the ballot initiative violated the single-subject rule outlined in the state constitution.
Now, after filing two new medical cannabis initiatives with the Nebraska Secretary of State to get the issue before voters this November, the group has hit another snag—the loss of two of its biggest donors.
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana had hoped to raise $1 million to fund its signature gathering efforts this year, but a major donor died in a plane crash and another was diagnosed with a terminal illness, leaving the initiative with roughly $30,000 in cash, according to a Lincoln Journal Star report.
The campaign has just two months left to collect roughly 87,000 signatures, and State Sen. Anna Wishart, who co-chairs Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, told the news outlet that the campaign plans to press on as a grassroots effort.
“This campaign is going to have to come across the finish line in a very nontraditional way,” Wishart said. “No campaign has ever done it before, but if there's any that can do it, it will definitely be this signature drive.”
The group will place petitions at 100 locations across the state, including tanning salons, law offices and other local businesses, rather than hiring professionals to gather signatures in communities and at events throughout the state, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
“If every single person who cares about this issue participates, we will get across the finish line successfully,” Wishart told the news outlet.
One of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana’s two petitions would require state lawmakers to enact laws to protect doctors who recommend medical cannabis to their patients, as well as for the patients who ultimately possess and use cannabis for medical purposes, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
The second petition would require lawmakers to enact laws to protect the businesses that produce and sell medical cannabis in the state, the news outlet reported.
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has collected roughly 25,000 signatures for each petition to date, according to the Lincoln Journal Star, and Wishart told the news outlet that there is “absolutely enough time” for the campaign to gather the remaining 62,000 signatures for each initiative before the July 7 deadline.