Nebraska State Sens. Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld on Tuesday filed a ballot initiative to vote on medical marijuana legalization. If successful, a vote will appear on the ballot for the November 2020 election. 

The initiative would allow Nebraskans to safely and securely possess and access medicinal marijuana, as well as equipment to imbibe it, upon recommendation from a medical professional, such as a nurse practitioner or doctor. State residents would be able to produce a certain amount of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Wishart and Morfeld filed the initiative with the office of the Secretary of State on behalf of the advocacy group Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws.

"We have evidence showing that [medicinal cannabis] helps," Wishart said in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star. "So to deny people access to that to me is tragic. And that's why we are pushing for this initiative on two fronts."

The initiative has not been met with universal popularity in the state. Soon after it was submitted to the Secretary of State's office, a handful of Nebraskan officials — including Attorney General Doug Peterson, Gov.  Pete Ricketts and former U.S. Congressman and Nebraska Cornhuskers football coach Tom Osborne — publicly denounced the move at a news conference. 

Recalling his coaching days, Osborne told members of the press that his interactions with college football players who used the substance convinced him that marijuana is an addictive drug — a notion that has been debunked by most scientists.

"We had a lot of guys with a lot on the line," Osborne said at the time. "They were not able to stay away from marijuana."

Wishart claims that there is support for medical marijuana in Nebraska.

"I don't think that [Osborne's] opposition has stopped what I see as a groundswell of support in Nebraska to legalize medical marijuana," Wishart said.

There have been past attempts to legalize cannabis for medical purposes but all failed to receive the requisite 49 senate votes. In April 2016, Nebraska state senators failed by three votes to advance a bill to allow some patients to receive medicinal marijuana.

If the initiative is approved, Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws will need to collect between 130,000 and 140,000 before July 2020 for it to be included in the November election ballot. 

Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana.

A Quinnipiac University poll in August 2017 found that 94 percent of Americans support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it.