LINCOLN – Voters in Cass County and all across Nebraska will not be able to vote on whether to legalize medical marijuana in this year’s election.
They will, however, be able to vote on whether to expand gambling in the state.
The Nebraska Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that three gambling initiatives be placed on the November general election ballot, but that a medical cannabis initiative be withheld.
This decision came after Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen recently announced there were enough valid signatures on a statewide petition to put the cannabis issue on the ballot.
“After careful review by our counties, I can confirm that the number and distribution of valid signatures submitted on the petitions meet the statutory requirements for placement of the initiative on the November general election ballot,” Evnen said at the time.
In its opinion on Thursday, the court said the medical marijuana initiative violated “single subject rule,” by not having a “unifying purpose,” according to the state constitution.
Meanwhile, supporters of expanded gambling recently told the Supreme Court they divided the issue into three initiatives to comply with the single-subject requirement. That convinced four of the seven court justices on Thursday to place them on the ballot.
According to statute, the statewide ballot for the November 3 general election had to be certified no later than Friday, Sept. 11.
In response to the court’s decision, Evnen through his office said, “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 in accordance with law. Today (Thursday), 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.”
Late Friday, Evnen announced that the final list of candidates for offices and ballot measures had been certified by his office.
The 2020 general election ballot will also allow voters to vote on four initiatives proposed by petition and two Constitutional Amendments proposed by the Legislature.
By random drawing, the initiative measures will be numbered as follows:
- Initiative Measure 428—Payday Lending
- Initiative Measure 429—Games of Chance Constitutional Amendment
- Initiative Measure 430—Games of Chance Regulatory
- Initiative Measure 431—Games of Chance Tax
“In accordance with the placement of the initiative measure on the ballot, my office will be hosting a hearing in each of the three congressional districts as required by law,” Evnen said through his office. “These hearings will allow Nebraska voters to have their questions addressed.”
Informational pamphlets will be created and distributed for each initiative. In addition, pamphlets will be available in county election offices and the office of secretary of state by the end of September.
Early ballots will begin to be sent starting Sept. 28. Information about the initiatives, as well as a list of statewide candidates, can be found on the Secretary of State website: https://sos.nebraska.gov/
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