Not long ago, it seemed Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana might have hit a wall in their signature gathering. But now, a petition drive to put medical marijuana on the November ballot in Nebraska is gaining momentum.
Organizers said Thursday that they had doubled the signature count in just two weeks, reports WOWT.
Advocates are targeting farmer’s markets and planning to maximize opportunities at the College World Series later this month and Fourth of July events next month.
For months, the Nebraskans group used all volunteers to get signatures. But that strategy was failing. So they’ve gone to paid petition circulators as well. According to NMM, in the last two weeks the group raised $50,000 and hired more than 100 paid circulators crisscrossing the state.
One petition focuses on giving patients the right to use medical Cannabis when a doctor deems it a necessary treatment. Meanwhile, the second one deals with the production of marijuana.
In the past two weeks, Nebraskans collected 40,000 signatures, doubling the total to 80,000, reports KLKN. Additionally, the petitions reached the required number of signatures in 15 counties.
To get on to the ballot, petitions need 87,000 valid signatures by July 7. At least 5% of registered voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties must sign the initiatives. Organizers must still reach the 5% threshold in 23 more counties.
More Signatures Definitely Needed
Experts recommend getting significantly more signatures than required, reports News Channel Nebraska. That’s because many will be thrown out for not meeting legal requirements.
At the same time, NMM is challenging the 5 percent rule in federal court, arguing it gives unfair political power to Nebraska’s smallest counties. Statewide campaign coordinator Crista Eggers filed the lawsuit in May, alleging that the state’s petition requirements are unconstitutional. They argue that, for signature-gathering purposes, one voter in sparsely populated Arthur County has about as much power as 1,200 voters in Douglas County, which includes Omaha.
Lawyers for the state have asked a judge to throw out that lawsuit, claiming it would “drastically” alter Nebraska’s initiative process, reports the Star Herald.