Medical Marijuana Bill Again Before Nebraska Legislature

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Nebraska) — Medical cannabis advocates are once again trying to legalize the issue.

This year they are trying to do it through legislation in the unicameral Nebraska state parliament.

Lincoln Sen. Anna Wishart began hearings Thursday, telling the board she is bringing them one of the most conservative medical cannabis bills in the country.

She believes that this is the best iteration she has introduced, which has the best chance of promotion.

“This bill will not fail because of a lack of compromise or thoughtfulness on the part of all the senators and stakeholders who worked on it,” Wishart said. “If this bill fails, it will fail, as it has in the past, due to political pressure from those few who use their power to crush the will of the people.”

Dozens of people came to testify in support. Families say that medical cannabis is often the best option for their loved ones suffering from a chronic illness.

“He still has the option of brain surgery, we still have the option of losing his mobility and ability to speak,” said Dominic Gillen, who has a child who would benefit from medical marijuana. “It is fair for us to make this decision when there is something that can make it easier, rather than making this process and decision necessary for us.”

Attorney General Mike Hilgers, Col. John Bolduc of the Nebraska State Patrol, Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon, as well as DHHS officials testified against.

Many argued that the legislature should not approve the drug.

“This bill has been presented to the legislature several times in the past, and what we are seeing in other states that have gone down this path is an increase in the number of fatal traffic accidents,” Bolduc said. “It is important that senators know what the unintended consequences of such a bill are. Fatal traffic accidents are one thing, the level of drug addiction is another.”

Wishart’s bill narrows the list of people who are eligible to use cannabis for medical purposes, bans smoking or vaping cannabis, establishes four types of medical cannabis business licenses, and adds medical cannabis to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program’s list.

“I’m tired and tired of this struggle,” said Krista Eggers, who has a child who would benefit from medical marijuana. “I ask you to look at the suffering people of the state with compassion and sympathy by supporting this bill.”

The bill then needs to be voted on by a committee at the House of Representatives level.

Wishart and other supporters have stated that if it is not voted for, they will try to pass it again with a ballot initiative.

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