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Nebraska Supreme Court: no medical marijuana on ballot, yes to expanded gambling on ballot

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 2:23 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2020 at 5:37 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - On Thursday, the Nebraska Supreme Court has released opinions on medical marijuana and expanded gambling ahead of both issues appearing on the November ballot.

The court decided medical marijuana would not appear on the November ballot, while Nebraskans will have the opportunity to vote on expanded gambling in the state.

Petitions for both measures received enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen qualified the medical marijuana measure but the Court heard arguments against and for the initiative two weeks ago.

In Thursday’s opinions, the Nebraska Supreme Court said the medical marijuana initiative “violates the single subject rule," by not having a “unifying purpose” according to the state constitution.

“We would hold that the Constitutional Initiative violate the single subject rule and would find the Secretary of State has shown cause why the Constitutional Initiative should not be placed on the November 2020 ballot,” the court wrote in its opinion.

After the decisions were released, Evnen issued a statement explaining the ballot will be certified to contain the gambling initiatives while the medical marijuana initiative will be withheld.

“The Secretary of State is required by statute to issue determinations as to whether initiative petitions are legally sufficient. I did my best to make those determinations on a timely basis,” he wrote. “...Today the Supreme Court issued its decisions concerning these petitions. I respect the rule of law and I will certify the ballot in compliance with the Court’s orders.”

The Keep the Money in Nebraska political committee in partnership with Ho-Chunk Inc. and the Nebraska BHorsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, wrote they are pleased with the court’s decision in an issued statement.

“This is more than a win for the initiatives; it’s a win for Nebraska’s referendum process,” said Lynne McNally, secretary treasurer for the organization which sponsored the measures. “If passed in the Nov. 3 general election, the measures will create 4,600 jobs and generate more than $45 million in property tax relief annually.”

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