In a stunning blow to the legalization movement in the State of Nebraska, the highest court just found the most recent medical marijuana initiative unconstitutional. As a result, it will no longer be on the ballot in the upcoming election.
This decision comes at a time when the overwhelming majority of residents have voiced support for the rescheduling of the plant. In a recent poll, more than 77% of voters indicated they were in favor of a medical marijuana program in Nebraska.
Here's what advocates had to say about this recent ruling:
"Our opponents are cowards," responded Matthew Schweich, Deputy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project. Schweich continued his statement as follows, "This is an outrageous and deeply flawed decision by a group of activist judges. This ruling means that sick and suffering medical marijuana patients, including veterans, will continue to be criminals in Nebraska when they try to live healthier lives."
Despite the fact that the decision itself was unbelievable, you have to keep in mind that close to 200,000 residents of Nebraska signed a petition in favor of this legislation being added to the November ballot. It is very clear that the will of the people in the state is to have easy access to quality medical marijuana, however the powers that be are determined to thwart any and all attempts to provide this access within the state.
What Went Wrong?
The. Single. Subject. Rule.
The single subject rule requires any ballot measure to stick to a single subject. However, before the courts had the chance to strike down the measure, it had been approved by the Secretary of State, Bob Evnen, who said that he believed it followed the letter of the law. According to Evnen, producing and using medical cannabis were a single subject. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not agree.
The courts ruled in favor of striking down the initiative and removing it from the upcoming November ballot because of a technicality. A really really small technicality.
In addition to the language legalizing and regulating marijuana for medical purposes, there were three separate proposals related to gambling within the state. According to the law, the issue of marijuana should be decided on its own, and now share a bill with any other major issue. The courts believe that the residents of Nebraska need to see cannabis as a singular topic when they vote on a bill pertaining to its rescheduling.
Opponents of the cannabis movement claim that the law has been upheld, and that the court made the right decision.
What Is the Purpose Of The Initiative?
The goal of this initiative is to amend the constitution of the State of Nebraska in order to allow qualifying residents to use, possess, access and produce cannabis, and cannabis infused products, in an effort to treat serious medical conditions. Medical cannabis can only me made available to those that have received a recommendation from a licensed physician within in state.
Provisions Of The Initiative
In order to be effective, advocates propose the following changes to the current constitution.
The following sections of the initiative outline what is ALLOWED by the initiative.
- (1) An individual who is eighteen years of age or older, if recommended by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner, has the right to use, possess, access, purchase, and safely and discreetly produce an adequate supply of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis related equipment to alleviate a serious medical condition. Such individual may assisted by a caregiver in exercising these rights.
- (2) An individual who is under eighteen years of age, if recommended by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner and with the permission of a parent or legal guardian with responsibility for health care decisions of such individual, has the right to use cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis related equipment to alleviate a serious medical condition. Such individual may be assisted by a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, who may possess, access, purchase, and safely and discreetly produce an adequate supply of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis related equipment on behalf of the individual.
- (3) The rights protected in the above sections include the right to access or purchase cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis related equipment from private entities. Private entities and agents operating on the entities' behalf in the State of Nebraska may grow, cultivate, process, possess, transport, sell, test, or transfer possession of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis related equipment for sale or delivery to an individual authorized to use cannabis under either of the above sections.
- (4) Individuals or entities engaged in actions followed by, or exercising rights protected by this section shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or civil or criminal penalties under state or local law, except that reasonable penalties may be imposed for any violation of reasonable laws, rules, and regulations enacted by any of the aforementioned sections.
- (5) (a)The rights protected in this initiative shall only be subject to reasonable laws, rules and regulations that promote the health and safety of individuals authorized to use cannabis as provided in this section; ensure continued access by such individuals to the type and quantity of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis related equipment they need; and prevent unlawful diversion of cannabis. Such laws, rules or regulations shall not impose an undue burden on the exercise of rights protected by this section.
- (b) This subsection shall not prevent the expeditious licensing and reasonable regulation of entities and agents acting under section (3) of this initiative. Such regulation and licensing shall not impose an undue burden on the ability of individuals authorized to use cannabis as provided in this section to access the type and quantity of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis related equipment they need.
- (6) This section shall not be construed to: (a) Allow the smoking of cannabis in public; (b) Require detention or correctional facilities to allow the possession or use of cannabis in such facilities; Allow the operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by cannabis; or (d) Otherwise allow engaging in conduct that would be negligent to undertake while impaired by cannabis.
- (7) This section does not require an employer to allow an employee to work while impaired by cannabis.
- (8) This section does not require any insurance provider to provide insurance coverage for the use of cannabis.
- (9) For purposes of this section, cannabis means all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or its resin.
Keep this issue in mind as you head to the polls (or mail in your ballot, depending on where you live), and use your vote to make your voice heard today!