Nebraska Supreme Court Just Killed November's Medical Marijuana Initiative
After a sheriff's legal challenge, Nebraska's Supreme Court has ruled that the previously approved measure to legalize medical marijuana in the state is “unconstitutional," despite 77% of residents favoring the initiative.
Published on September 11, 2020

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Nebraska’s Supreme Court just ruled that a previously approved measure to legalize medical marijuana is “unconstitutional” and therefore cannot appear on the state’s election ballot in November. This is, of course, anti-democratic and infuriating, but let’s take a look at how this happened. 

First off, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is an idiot. Just last week he declared, “There is no such thing as medical marijuana.” Ricketts proclaimed this falsehood as the leader of a state where 77 percent of residents support legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Now on to the nitty gritty. Last July, the activist group Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) collected more than enough signatures to qualify a medical weed bill to be included on the November election ballot. 

Then, on August 28 the Secretary of State made it official: Nebraskans could decide for themselves whether or not to legalize medical marijuana by voting on Nebraska Medical Cannabis Constitutional Amendment (NMCCA). 

Three days later, however, Sheriff Terry Wagner filed a lawsuit to block the measure, claiming it overstepped constitutional boundaries by covering too many topics for a single initiative. A state court initially tossed out the challenge. Yesterday, however, Sheriff "No-Pot" won.

The Nebraska Supreme Court declared that it agreed with Sheriff Wagner — a man who puts people in jail for possessing and using cannabis. With only two justices dissenting, the Supremes formally removed the proposal from the ballot.

“As proposed, the [NMCCA] contains more than one subject — by our count, it contains at least eight subjects,” the court wrote in its official opinion. “It would regulate the role of cannabis in at least six areas of public life. These secondary purposes are not naturally and necessarily connected to the NMCCA’s primary purpose. As such, they constitute logrolling.”

The term "logrolling" is a bit dramatic, considering the definition means: "the practice of exchanging favors, especially in politics by reciprocal voting for each other's proposed legislation." Further, a robust cannabis bill is generally required in order to ensure a program runs smoothly and serves the people in the best ways possible. Plus, legalizing cannabis in any form touches multiple parts of society, so it makes sense that there are "multiple subjects" included within the bill — pretty much all cannabis legislation has multiple subjects within their respective bills. 

But, the disingenuous patronizing didn’t stop there. “If voters are to intelligently adopt a State policy with regard to medicinal cannabis use, they must first be allowed to decide that issue alone, unencumbered by other subjects,” the court wrote.

Seriously? Is this real life? The Supreme Court of Nebraska is implying that state residents aren't competent enough to understand what they support. It implies that the government and courts know better, and the people — who very clearly want access to legal medical cannabis — are getting duped and don't know it. 

2020 has been quite a year — one that's shown the many different hues of fascism in America. The people of Nebraska just got bulldozed by their state government, despite making one thing emphatically clear: they want legal medical marijuana and they want it now! 

Mike McPadden
Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo
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