MJBizMag October 2022 - 8

FROM THE EDITOR Kate Lavin
Trouble in Nebraska
Activists seeking to change the law must be overly familiar with it
V
oters could choose to
legalize adult-use marijuana
in up to five new markets
in November. But even as this
magazine goes to press, opponents
are arguing to keep legalization
initiatives off the ballot.
One state that likely won't be
voting on marijuana this election
day is Nebraska, where proponents
collected signatures to get
a medical marijuana measure on
the ballot but were lacking when it
came to the letter of the law.
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana
(NMM), the group behind
the ballot initiative, submitted
98,000 signatures to the secretary
of state's office, but the
group fell short of reaching
voters in a wide enough swath of
Nebraska's 93 counties.
According to Nebraska law, initiatives
must have signatures from
at least 5% of registered voters in
38 Nebraska counties to qualify
for the ballot. In tiny McPherson
County, that would mean gathering
19 signatures, while in Douglas
County, nearly 30,000 signatures
would be needed to reach the 5%
threshold.
The discrepancy-and the fact it
is keeping marijuana off the ballot
in a state bordering three medical
cannabis markets and the oldest
regulated adult-use market in the
country-highlights the importance
of knowing the law and
anticipating hurdles that anti-drug
groups are likely to employ.
A Ray of Hope
Secretary of State Bob Evnen's
decision not to review the 98,000
8 October 2022 | MJBizMagazine
Namely, you can't change the
With medical
cannabis already
legalized in nearly
80% of states,
non-marijuana
strongholds will be
the hardest to sway
going forward.
signatures submitted by NMM
was challenged by the ACLU of
Nebraska, which argued that the
geographic requirement gave
undue power to rural voters.
According to the civil rights
organization, one vote in a rural
county was equal to roughly
1,000 votes in an urban area
when the state's 5% population
rule was applied.
Arguing that the signatures collected
should qualify the measure
for the ballot, Crista Eggers, the
campaign coordinator for NMM,
said: " Every Nebraskan's signature
should have equal weight, no matter
the size of our community. "
Eggers' sentiment and
continued pressure from the
ACLU is unlikely to be resolved
in time to get the Nebraska
Medical Cannabis Regulation Act
on the Nov. 8 ballot. But the case
does provide some lessons for
marijuana advocates.
law if you don't know the law. If
regulators and elected officials
are going to employ legal loopholes
to keep initiatives off the
ballot, those seeking to legalize
marijuana must be a step ahead.
With medical cannabis already
legalized in nearly 80% of states,
non-marijuana strongholds will
be the hardest to sway going
forward-otherwise they already
would have joined the green
wave.
Best of the Rest
Starting on page 32 of this
issue, the editorial staff of
MJBizMagazine outlines what is
at stake at the polls in November.
In addition to five adult-use
marijuana ballot initiatives
(assuming the courts do not strike
them down before election day),
members of Congress will fight to
retain their seats.
Adding another dimension to
the election, the results of the
2020 census will be evident for the
first time, as members of the U.S.
House of Representatives compete
for redrawn voting districts.
No matter where you do
business, the content of this issue
is sure to be important reading
before we head to the polls.
Kate Lavin is the editor
of MJBizMagazine. Reach
her at kate.lavin@
mjbizdaily.com.

MJBizMag October 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMag October 2022

MJBizMag October 2022 - 1
MJBizMag October 2022 - 2
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