Petition to legalize medical marijuana launched in Nebraska

LINCOLN — A petition effort to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska was launched Thursday with the creation of a campaign committee.

State Sens. Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld, both of Lincoln, will lead the committee, Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana laws. The group is aiming to put a proposed constitutional amendment before voters on the 2020 ballot.

“Today is the first step towards establishing a compassionate medical marijuana law for sick and suffering Nebraskans,” Wishart said. “Thirty-two states have already adopted effective medical marijuana laws, and Nebraska will soon be joining their ranks.”

Wishart has sponsored medical marijuana bills in the last two legislative sessions. Morfeld was a leader in this year’s successful petition initiative to expand Medicaid to more low-income Nebraskans.

The new committee plans to work with the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group that has helped lead legalization efforts in other states, including in Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada and Utah.

Matthew Schweich, deputy director for the group, will work on the Nebraska initiative. He said medical marijuana has drawn strong, bipartisan support across the country, including in conservative states like Nebraska.

“We are confident this campaign will be successful at the ballot box in 2020,” he said.

While medical marijuana will be the Nebraska group’s top priority, supporters also will look at other potential marijuana reforms, Morfeld said.