Medical cannabis group files lawsuit against Lancaster County Sheriff

LINCOLN, Neb. – The fight over medical cannabis legalization has taken another turn, and the subject is leading to another potential court appearance.

A medical marijuana advocacy group filed a lawsuit against Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner on Monday. In a news release, Nebraska Families for Medical Cannabis said the lawsuit was filed following the Nebraska Supreme Court’s removal of the medical marijuana initiative on the 2020 ballot.

The group, led by Lincoln attorney John Cartier, says it has filed an official complaint with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission against Wagner, alleging that he initiated the lawsuit against the measure that led to the court's ruling.

The complaint alleges that Wagner committed a felony by failing to disclose who paid for his legal fees during the 2020 calendar year. 

Nebraska law requires elected officials to disclose any gifts they receive in a calendar year that are valued at more than $100.

Wagner has publicly said he "doesn't know" who paid for the lawsuit.

"Anytime an elected official accepts a gift that is more than $100 in value, they have to report it on a Statement of Financial Interests," said Cartier.

"If Mr. Wagner knowingly filed a false statement, he is guilty of a Class IV felony. In this case, the payment of Mr. Wagner's legal fees is a gift that must be disclosed under Nebraska election law."

Wagner became the challenger to the ballot initiative — which was signed by 196,000 Nebraskans — after Lincoln attorney Mark Fahleson pointed out the measure appeared to violate the state's single-subject rule.

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