Nebraska medical marijuana initiative challenged in court

Published: Aug. 30, 2020 at 11:26 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court will decide whether to allow voters to decide whether to legalize medical marijuana in November.

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner filed a challenge on Friday to Secretary of State Bob Evnen’s ruling that the medical marijuana ballot initiative qualified to be on the ballot.

Evnen said a day earlier that the Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana group had collected well over the 122,275 signatures it needed to put the issue on the ballot.

Opponents of the measure argue that it violates state rules requiring ballot measures to focus on a single question. Lincoln attorney Mark Fahleson, who is a former Nebraska Republican Party chairman, is representing Wagner. He said the measure poses two separate questions: whether residents should have the right to use marijuana for medical purposes, and whether private companies should be allowed to grow and sell it.

Organizers of the ballot measure have said they’re highly confident that the measure will survive the legal challenge and they argue that medical marijuana has strong support in Nebraska.

Lawyers for the pro-medical marijuana group said in a letter that the legal challenge is “a last-minute attempt to derail the precious right of the people” to vote on voter-supported initiatives.

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