Medical marijuana question will not appear on ballot

Aug. 22, 2022, 3 p.m. ·

A woman advertising for people to sign a medical marijuana petition in July.
A supporter of medical marijuana soliciting petition signatures in July (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media News)

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The question of legalizing medical marijuana will not be on the ballot for Nebraska voters to decide this November.

The Nebraska Secretary of State’s office announced Monday they did not receive enough valid petition signatures to put the question of legalizing medical marijuana before voters on the November ballot.

Putting a proposed law before voters requires signatures from 7% of the state’s registered voters, or just under 87,000. Supporters of medical marijuana turned in more than that, but only between 77,000 and 78,000 were found to be valid.

Typically, Secretary of State Bob Evnen has said a number of signatures are disqualified because people aren’t registered to vote or for other reasons.

Sen. Anna Wishart, a leader of the legalization campaign, expressed disappointment.

“It’s really heartbreaking," she said. "It’s also pretty painful just to know that, by the end, we had picked up so much steam that had we had one or two more weeks, it probably would have made the difference."

But Wishart said the campaign had convinced her of the feasibility of a grassroots, volunteer initiative campaign.

“We will refile and do this again. And then also, I’ll bring legislation,” she said.

Wishart has two years remaining in her legislative term.

The Secretary of State’s office said signature verification is not yet complete on two other initiative campaigns: to raise the minimum wage and to require people to show photo IDs before voting. Evnen's office expects updates on those by the end of August.