By Grant Schulte, Associated Press
(AP) — Nebraska voters may still get a chance to legalize medical marijuana and casino gambling even though the new coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced activists to stop collecting signatures to place the issues on the November ballot.
Organizers from both campaigns said they’re confident they’ll have enough signatures to qualify before the July 2 deadline to submit their petitions, even though they’ve pulled their circulators off the streets.
Both groups said they had already gathered a large number before the pandemic forced the closure of public buildings and cancellation of major events where circulators often work.
“I’m still optimistic,” said Sen. Anna Wishart, a co-chairwoman of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana. “It’s a popular issue, and we’ve got a really good base of signatures. I feel really positive about where we are right now.”
Because the measures are proposed constitutional amendments, the petition campaigns need signatures from at least 10% of the state’s registered voters — roughly 121,000 people as of this month.
“We’re taking this a day at a time,” said the campaign. “We’re obviously going to keep moving on this, but with the large number of public events canceled, it’s going to be more of a challenge.”
Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen said he doesn’t plan to extend the submission deadline for petition campaigns because the requirements are spelled out in state law.
AP Photo Richard Vogel