In late 2019, the novel Coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, first appeared in Wuhan, China, and the country literally ground to a halt. The most hard-hit regions went into lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus, but it also drastically reduced the county’s manufacturing output. Since China is a known low-cost producer, tons of industries were affected by this disruption in manufacturing, including the cannabis sector.
However, now that the virus has spread to most other continents except Antarctica, supply chain disruptions are only one of many issues we should be worrying about. With all but essential businesses ordered to close and millions of people told to self-isolate, there’s so much more to lose.
In Nebraska, for instance, activists announced on Thursday that they were temporarily suspending signature gathering for a campaign to legalize marijuana in the state. This is just one of the instances where drug policy reform efforts have been hampered by the Coronavirus, with some activists requesting emergency action to allow for alternative means to put the measures on state ballots.
“Thank you to all Nebraskans who have given their support so far to get voter approval of legalized medical cannabis on the ballot box this fall. Your signatures, along with overwhelming citizen support for the measure is going to help make it a reality and bring relief to individuals and communities throughout our entire state,” said Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana in a Facebook post.
Due to current circumstances, it is resigned to the fact that it will have to press pause for now. “Out of an abundance of caution and following the wider recommendations from public health officials, we are going to pause our volunteer and paid signature-gathering efforts within local community gathering places until the state indicates it is responsible to continue.”
“We look forward to the opportunity to get back out there to help Nebraskans create meaningful change for each other, and we wish your loved ones health and peace of mind right now,” the press release concludes.
The proposed amendment would allow doctors to recommend cannabis to patients suffering from predetermined medical conditions. They would also be allowed to possess, purchase and ‘discreetly’ cultivate marijuana for personal use.
The activists have to collect about 130,000 signatures by July 8 for the measure to qualify for the November ballot, although it is not clear how many signatures they have already collected or how long they will continue in-person signature gathering.
Experts believe that while marijuana industry players like MCTC Holdings Inc. (OTC: MCTC) are glad that the campaigners have taken the cautious step of halting signature gathering, it is hoped that the pandemic will end in time to give Nebraskans a chance to vote on the legalization of medical marijuana in the state.
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