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Tragic Death of Top Donor Leaves Nebraska Medical Cannabis Campaign in Limbo

Campaign to Legalize Medical Cannabis in Nebraska has fallen on hard times. They are now seeking new donors and hope to have two more proposals put to the Nebraska ballot.

The Omaha World Herald reported this week that the group “Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana lost two individuals who were expected to make a major contribution to the current legalization campaign.”

One donor who made contributions to the group’s previous failed bid to get a medical cannabis proposal on the 2020 ballot died in a plane crash, Democratic state Sen. Anna Wishart, a co-sponsor of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, told the newspaper.

According to The, another person who had been expected to join the group in this year’s effort was diagnosed with terminal disease. Omaha World Herald, which said that Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana notified supporters of the “huge setback” in an email on Wednesday.

The World Herald reported that, despite the loss of two key donors, “Wishart was still confident the group could meet its $500,000 fundraising goal by May 1,” although she “declined to say how much the campaign has raised so far.”

According to the newspaper, “the campaign had a cash balance that was less than $30,000” as of a month ago.

The group announced in September that it had “recently filed drafts of the measures with the Nebraska Secretary of State and expects to begin circulating petitions later this month” for two separate medical cannabis proposals to make it onto the Cornhusker State ballot this year.

In accordance with the first initiative the Nebraska legislature will be required to pass new laws which would provide protection for doctors in Nebraska who have recommended medical cannabis treatment as well as patients who use the drug from criminal prosecution.

A second proposal calls for state lawmakers to adopt a bill that establishes the regulatory framework to allow medical marijuana suppliers to operate.

Crista Eggers is the leader of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana. Crista’s six-year old son suffers from severe and intractable epilepsy.

Eggers said in an announcement in September that patients like her son Colton, “desperately need access to this medicine.”

“No matter what your political background is, we should all agree that criminalizing a medicine that has the potential to alleviate suffering, is both cruel and inhumane,” Eggers said at the time. “The current policy doesn’t reflect our family values here in Nebraska, and we’re going to change that. We need everyone who believes in compassion for suffering individuals like my son to be part of this movement and help us win in 2022.”

The Omaha World Herald, “each petition would need nearly 87,000 signatures” by the July 7, 2022 deadline in order to qualify for the ballot.

The newspaper reported that “Wishart believes each petition has about 25,000 signatures so far, and said signature gathering is one of the main reasons why donations are so crucial to these campaigns.”

Absent additional funding, “Wishart said it would not be impossible for the campaign to succeed, but it would be extraordinary,” according to the World Herald.

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana attempted to put a proposition on the 2020 state ballot. However, after collecting almost 200,000 signatures the group was stopped by the Nebraska Supreme Court. The court ruled that the initiative was illegal and ineligible for balloting.

Wishart expressed optimism at the September announcement, declaring that this time it would be different.

“It was true last year and it remains true today that the vast majority of Nebraskans are on our side when it comes to this issue,” Wishart said. “Voters were unfairly denied the opportunity to enact reform last year, but this time, we’re ready for any legal challenge, and we will succeed.”