Several states had plans to legalize cannabis at the start of this year, but 2020 threw a curveball that absolutely no one expected. With self-isolation and social distancing orders in place, signature collection efforts became quite difficult, and states like New York and Florida have had to postpone legalization to next year and beyond. In Nebraska, cannabis legalization activists had to collect at least 122,000 signatures to get medical marijuana on the November ballot and they more than delivered.
The group, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, initially suspended its signature collection efforts when the coronavirus broke out, but the campaign relaunched its efforts later in May with new social distancing safety protocols. By the July 8 deadline, the group had managed to collect a total of 182,000 signatures from all 93 counties in the state. If approved, the measure will allow doctors to recommend cannabis to patients suffering from certain debilitating medical conditions, and they will also be allowed to purchase, possess, and discreetly cultivate marijuana for their personal use.
“Families with loved ones suffering from conditions like epilepsy, PTSD, and cancer have fought for years to make medical cannabis safely accessible. Today represents a huge step forward for thousands of Nebraskans who deserve compassion,” Democratic Senator Anna Wishart, co-chair of the Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, said at the time. “We’re confident that we’ve met the requirements for ballot qualification, and after seeing the outpouring of support for our petition, we’re even more confident that Nebraska voters will approve this initiative in November.”
Barry Rubin, president of the Heartland Strategy Group, which spearheaded the signature collection efforts, says that it was a “herculean effort” that overcame tremendous challenges, including a pandemic that severely impacted their ability to collect signatures on the original timeline. “But the dedication of our petition circulators, along with the passionate support for this issue from Nebraskans of all backgrounds propelled us forward,” he says.
However, before the measure makes it onto the November ballot, state officials will have to make sure the collected signatures are valid. For an initiative to qualify for the ballot in Nebraska, the number of valid signatures must reach at least 10% (121,669) of the total registered voters and represent 5% or more of the voters in at least 38 counties across the state. State officials are expected to determine whether the measure qualifies for ballot by mid-August.
The successful conclusion of the signature-gathering process is a development that industry actors like Pure Extracts Corp. are likely to applaud since it shows that the sector is moving forward despite the prevailing hardships.
CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.
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