Federal Court Sides With Nebraska Medical Marijuana Activists In Lawsuit Over Ballot Requirements

Federal Court Sides With Nebraska Medical Marijuana Activists In Lawsuit Over Ballot Requirements
MJ moment

A federal judge gave a campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska a second wind on Monday, siding with the activists in a lawsuit over the state’s signature gathering requirements for ballot measures. With about three weeks left before the July 7 deadline to turn in enough valid petitions to qualify a pair of reform measures for the ballot, U.S. District Judge Joh Gerrard issued a preliminary injunction against the state, barring officials from enforcing a requirement that activists collect signatures from a minimum of five percent of voters in at least 38 counties across the state. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) and the ACLU of Nebraska sought the relief through a lawsuit filed last month as the prospects of getting ballot qualification dimmed due to the loss of critical campaign funding. Activists argued that the geographical signature requirement is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause, unnecessarily suppressing the ability of citizens to put issues on the ballot by giving outsized influence to people living in remote, rural areas of Nebraska. The judge sided with the campaign, and also had some sharp words for the secretary of state and attorney general, which in their filing had suggested that the 38-country rule is “inseverable from the general initiative power” and, without it, the entire citizen initiative process would need to be invalidated. “For the State to argue that the baby must go with the bathwater is eyebrow-raising,” the ruling states. “The Court disagrees with the Secretary: The right of initiative is, the Court finds, a fundamental right that the citizens of Nebraska possess, so the State may not discriminate against them in their exercise of that right.” The order is preliminary, so there’s still a chance that the overall case challenging the requirements might not turn out in activists’ favor and…

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Source : Federal Court Sides With Nebraska Medical Marijuana Activists In Lawsuit Over Ballot Requirements

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