Thousands sign petitions to put medical marijuana, gambling on ballot

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 6:10 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Two hot button issues could be decided by Nebraska voters this November. One to expand gambling and the other, allowing medical marijuana.

Petitions on both issues were turned in today.

Petitions on both issues were collected and dropped off at the Nebraska Secretary of State's office in Lincoln today.

One would allow casino gambling at Nebraska’s six licensed horse tracks. Supporters say Nebraska is bleeding millions of dollars to neighboring states.

“We have been way behind our neighboring states and it’s time to move on and to keep this money in Nebraska,” said Bob Moser, Nebraska Horseman’s Association.

Proponents say bordering states have gambling outlets within 60 miles of most of Nebraska’s population. And the flow of cash out of Nebraska should be used for property tax relief and funding schools.

“There have been some people in powerful positions that have been against it and they’ve used that power in those positions in order to thwart these efforts in the past but I think that the fact that we can get 475,000 signatures speaks very very loudly to the intentions of what Nebraskans want,” said Lance Morgan, gambling proponent. Meanwhile, a second petition drive is gathering last-minute signees.

More than 180,000 Nebraskans from 50 counties want the use of medical marijuana put to a vote.

Ashlea Kerr was one of those last-minute signers.

“I’ve been meaning to sign for a while but with COVID and everything, I’ve been kind of keeping my distance. So, I figured today was the last day, so I better get out here,” said Kerr.

Corey Watkins is a nurse in Lincoln. She also has a daughter who suffers from epilepsy. She says passing medical marijuana into law could help thousands of Nebraskans.

“We’ve been fighting for this for so long for my daughter for my patients everybody so yeah this is very huge for a lot of us,” said Watkins.

Both petition drives appear to have gathered more than enough signatures to get the issues on the ballot. But they now need to be verified.

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