Nebraska cannabis activists have taken another hit just weeks after failing to collect enough signatures statewide to put two marijuana legalization initiatives on the November ballot.
The 2-1 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit reinstated the state's requirement that 5% of registered voters in 38 counties sign a petition to place the measure on the ballot, reported Nebraska Examiner.
Wednesday's ruling follows a legal action initiated by ACLU and Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana in May.
"Nebraska's counties vary widely in population," the lawsuit said. "As a result, Nebraska's signature distribution requirement gives disproportionate influence to voters in sparsely populated counties," violating the Constitution's equal protection clause.
However, Appeals Court Judges Raymond Gruender and David Stras wrote that it is in the state's power to set the requirements for gathering the signatures.
Jane Seu, an ACLU of Nebraska attorney, said they are "not giving up" while calling the ruling "troubling."
Crista Eggers, the organizer behind the petition drive Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, has a similar stance on her legalization efforts. Now that her push to put both initiatives before Nebraska's voters has fallen through, she is considering placing the adult-use legalization question on the 2024 ballot as well, as a way to appeal to those with more funds.
"There is nothing off the table about how we get this done," said Eggers, adding they are "going to regroup, we're going to hurt, and we're going to cry, and we're going to be angry, but then we're going to take the anger we feel today and turn it into action."
Photo: Courtesy of succo, mrkukuruznik5 by Pixabay
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