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Nebraskans For Medical Marijuana Withdraws Lawsuit Against Secretary Of State — What’s Next?

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By Nina Zdinjak

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana withdrew its lawsuit against Secretary of State Bob Evnen on Thursday. The lawsuit argued the state’s requirement that 5% of registered voters in 38 counties need to sign a petition to place the initiative on the ballot is unconstitutional.

The dismissal, filed by the ACLU of Nebraska on behalf of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, came after a 2-1 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit reinstated the state’s requirement in August.

Crista Eggers, the organizer behind the petition for Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, sued Evnen in federal court in May, claiming the requirement violates the Equal Protection Clause of the century-old 14th Amendment wherein a single voter who signed a petition in Arthur County has the same power as 1,000 residents of Douglas County who signed the same petition, reported Omaha World-Herald.

U.S. District Court Judge John Gerrard ruled in favor of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana in June, granting a temporary injunction preventing Evnen from enforcing it, but that was later reversed by a three-judge panel.

Photo by Olena Ruban/Getty Images

With the multi-county requirement, the medical cannabis proposals fell short by some 9,000 signatures each, which are needed to be on the November general election ballot.

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The first one would require lawmakers to pass laws protecting physicians who recommend medical cannabis treatment and patients who use it. The other would compel the legislature to set up rules for the medical cannabis program.

The three judges on the 8th Circuit Court cited the fact that the right to petition was created under state law and not the U.S. Constitution, meaning the group’s rights weren’t violated.

State senators Anna Wishart of Lincoln and Jen Day of Omaha announced plans to present bills for medical marijuana legalization in the next legislative session, which will start in January.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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