Medical marijuana advocates in Nebraska have ramped up efforts to place a legalization referendum on the November ballot.

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has teamed up with a new group called ADOPT (Adopt a Decrease in Oppressive Property Taxes) to drum up support for the measure. ADOPT is chaired by Tommy Garrett, a former Republican state senator from Bellevue and decorated U.S. Air Force veteran.

“We support the ballot initiative because it will improve health outcomes for citizens across the state, while also raising millions of dollars in revenue and economic growth,” Garrett said.

Garrett introduced the first bill, LB 643, to allow medical cannabis in Nebraska back in 2015. He said that revenue from legalization could go towards fixing roads and bridges, supporting education, and reducing taxes for Nebraskans.

The advocates have retained specialist ballot initiative agency 1st Tuesday Campaigns to assist in the process. 1st Tuesday Campaigns has offices in California, Washington, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri, and other Midwestern states, and it is now in the process of opening a Nebraska office.

It will be tasked with securing the necessary voter signatures to get the Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana ballot initiative language onto the November ballot.

The measure would allow medical marijuana to be prescribed for “serious medical conditions” as recommended by a physician or nurse practitioner. It would allow private companies to cultivate cannabis and distribute it to dispensaries.

ADOPT will work with Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana to send out a statewide network of supporters to gather the necessary signatures. It will also launch a “full-scale voter education and mobilization campaign” in order to drum up support for the issue.

Garrett said a vote in favour of legalization would allow Nebraskans to meaningfully impact the physical and economic wellbeing of their families, friends, and neighbours.

Nebraska is one of just 17 states that have not legalized medical marijuana. State law lists it as a Schedule I controlled substance. Possession of more than an ounce is a class III misdemeanour punishable by a maximum sentence of three months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500, while possession of more than a pound is a class IV felony punishable by a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

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