Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana Make Final Petition Signature Push

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) are making a final push to gather the necessary signatures for their petition to legalize medical cannabis in the state. With a deadline of July 3, NMM needs to collect 12,000 more signatures to reach the required 87,000 verified voter signatures for two separate petitions. These petitions aim to establish a doctor-patient system for medical cannabis and set up regulations for the industry. The campaign is in its final days, and every signature counts to ensure the measures make it onto the November ballot.

The urgency of the signature collection effort is palpable as the deadline approaches. NMM Campaign Manager Crista Eggers emphasized the critical nature of this final push, noting that they are “down to the absolute wire.” Volunteers and supporters are working tirelessly across the state, setting up signing stations in Lincoln, Omaha, and Grand Island. These locations include Wine, Beer and Spirits stores and other community hubs, making it convenient for residents to participate.

The community’s involvement has been a cornerstone of the campaign. Many Nebraskans have taken it upon themselves to gather signatures from friends and family, contributing to the overall effort. This grassroots approach highlights the widespread support for medical marijuana legalization in Nebraska. Despite the challenges, the campaign remains hopeful, drawing strength from the dedication and passion of its volunteers and supporters.

Eggers, whose 10-year-old son suffers from epilepsy and severe seizures, has a personal stake in the campaign. Her story resonates with many families facing similar struggles, underscoring the potential benefits of medical cannabis. The campaign’s success could bring much-needed relief to patients across the state, providing an alternative treatment option for various medical conditions.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

The two petitions being circulated by NMM aim to create a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework for medical cannabis in Nebraska. The first petition focuses on establishing a doctor-patient system, allowing qualified patients to use medical cannabis as recommended by their healthcare providers. This system would protect patients and their caregivers from arrest for the use, possession, and acquisition of medical cannabis.

The second petition seeks to establish the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commission, which would regulate private businesses providing medical cannabis to qualified patients. This commission would oversee the possession, manufacture, distribution, delivery, and dispensing of medical cannabis, ensuring that all activities comply with state laws. The regulatory framework is designed to provide a safe and controlled environment for the medical cannabis industry to operate.

These measures are crucial for ensuring that medical cannabis is accessible to those who need it while maintaining strict oversight to prevent misuse. The proposed regulations aim to balance patient access with public safety, addressing concerns about the potential risks associated with cannabis use. By establishing clear guidelines and oversight, the petitions seek to create a sustainable and responsible medical cannabis program in Nebraska.

Challenges and Future Prospects

The journey to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska has been fraught with challenges. This is NMM’s third attempt to put the issue before voters, following previous efforts in 2020 and 2022. The first attempt was thwarted by a split court decision, while the second failed to meet the county qualification requirements despite collecting a significant number of signatures. These setbacks have only strengthened the resolve of the campaign and its supporters.

One of the main challenges has been the financial and logistical hurdles of gathering the necessary signatures. Eggers pointed out that without substantial financial resources, it is “very difficult — downright almost impossible” to qualify for the ballot. This reality has made the campaign’s progress all the more impressive, as it relies heavily on volunteer efforts and community support.

Looking ahead, the campaign remains optimistic about its chances of success. The widespread support for medical cannabis legalization, with 81% of Nebraskans reportedly in favor, provides a strong foundation for the campaign. If the petitions qualify for the ballot and are approved by voters in November, Nebraska could join the growing list of states that have embraced medical cannabis as a legitimate treatment option.

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