States that have removed jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana
Last update: December 04, 2022
The future of reform unclear as medical cannabis advocates come just short of ballot qualification
Families and patients fighting for medical cannabis in Nebraska have faced a series of setbacks in recent years. After qualifying a constitutional medical cannabis initiative for the ballot in 2020, a deeply flawed court ruling just three months before the election prevented voters from deciding the issue. After regrouping and filing a pair of statutory ballot petitions for the November 2022 ballot, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana came just a few thousand signatures away from meeting the required threshold to qualify.
State lawmakers will discuss the issue again in the 2023 legislative session, but it is unclear whether enough senators will support passage of a medical cannabis law. State Senator Anna Wishart has led the charge, but prominent Republicans have consistently blocked attempts to bring the issue up for a vote.
With a strong network of grassroots support, local advocates are hopeful that they can make another attempt at qualifying for the ballot in 2024.
Medical cannabis advocates submit nearly 200,000 signatures for pair of statutory ballot petitions
After years of inaction in the state legislature, the ballot question committee Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) has been leading the effort to let Nebraska voters decide the issue of medical cannabis. On July 7 of this year, after nine months of hard work, the coalition of families, patients, and allies submitted over 90,000 signatures with the Nebraska Sec. of State for each of two medical cannabis ballot initiatives.
Last year the campaign opted to file a pair of statutory initiatives — one that would allow qualifying patients to possess medical cannabis and another to establish a regulated medical cannabis market — after a 2020 Nebraska Supreme Court decision struck down a previous constitutional ballot measure for medical cannabis based on the argument that it contained more than one subject.
The campaign had hoped to raise significant resources to fund a robust signature drive, but a series of personal tragedies prevented key donors from contributing to the effort. Despite the setback, the campaign’s massive volunteer base still managed to collect an impressive number of signatures.
Each initiative requires roughly 87,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, and state officials are expected to make an announcement about whether the measures are certified by late August.
Current marijuana laws in Nebraska
Possession is illegal in Nebraska. Possession of one ounce or less is an infraction, which is punishable by a maximum fine of $300, and the judge may order the offender to complete a drug education course. A second conviction for possession of one ounce or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $500, and the third and subsequent convictions for possession of one ounce or less are a misdemeanor and are punishable by a maximum sentence of seven days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500.
Cultivation is not allowed. Cultivation penalties in Nebraska are based upon the total weight of the plants found.
There is no medical marijuana program or any other allowances for patients in Nebraska.
Contact us: Let us know if you’d like to be involved in the fight for sensible marijuana policy in Nebraska by emailing email@example.com. Please let us know if you’re a medical professional, a seriously ill patient or loved one of a patient, or someone else with a personal connection to the issue.
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