Medical marijuana ballot initiative launches in Lincoln

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana aim to get enough signatures for November 2024 ballot
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 11:38 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Balloons—floating weightlessly in Duffy’s Tavern—read “2024″ and celebrate the launch of a new ballot initiative.

They also mark the passage of time and the pressure building after past failures of similar efforts in 2020 and 2022.

“It does feel like we’re rolling a boulder up a mountain,” State Sen. Anna Wishart said. “But every time we lose a little ground, we gain in our strengths and our understanding of how to be more successful.”

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, or NMM, started collecting signatures months ago for their third attempt at a ballot initiative, which includes two petitions: one to create protections for those who work with medical cannabis and the other to require the Legislature to legalize it.

On Wednesday night, organizers really got the ball rolling—asking for money and volunteers. Their goal is to hit every part of the state with petitioners.

“When you meet veterans, when you meet people who are chronically ill, when you meet kids who are having seizures that could all be cured by medical marijuana, you really don’t need to understand the ‘why,’” NMM co-chair Adam Morfeld said. “Because you know right then why we’re fighting for this.”

For NMM campaign manager Crista Eggers, it’s personal. A doctor told Eggers she needed to either go to a state with medical marijuana or get it legalized to help her son, who was diagnosed with epilepsy that is uncontrollable with regular medicine.

“He said, ‘Mommy, how long are we going to keep having to get the signatures?’” Eggers said. “And I had to look into his eyes and said, ‘Buddy, we’re not going to stop. We’re not giving up until that day comes.’”

Governor Pillen weighed in: “I believe in protecting our kids. Legalization of marijuana poses demonstrated harms to our children. Access to medical marijuana should only happen if it has undergone the FDA-approved process.”

Organizers said they’re optimistic they’ll get the 87,000 signatures they need for both petitions.