Lincoln — As expected, a legislative committee on Friday advanced a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska.
The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee advanced Legislative Bill 622, sponsored and prioritized by State Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln, 6-1.
The bill is sure to be controversial when it reaches the floor. It also faces opposition from Gov. Pete Ricketts, who was against a similar measure last year.
Wishart said supporters will have to work hard to educate lawmakers about how the medical cannabis program would operate.
“I’m optimistic that members will listen to their constituents who are desperately asking them to legalize this form of treatment,” she said.
At a committee hearing Wednesday, the bill drew the support of military veterans and the mother of a child with a severe seizure disorder. Opponents included Col. Brad Rice, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, and a representative from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.
Wishart’s bill would authorize a limited number of manufacturers and distribution centers to provide medical marijuana for people suffering from 19 different medical conditions, including seizures, anxiety or “any other illness for which medical cannabis provides relief as determined by the participating health care practitioner.”
Under the measure, patients could not smoke the drug or grow the plants. They could, however, take medical marijuana in pills, oils, liquids or lotions, or through vaporizers.
An amended version of the bill would make the program revenue-neutral, Wishart has said.
Those committee members voting to move the measure to the full Legislature were Sens. Laura Ebke of Crete, Bob Krist and Ernie Chambers of Omaha, and Matt Hansen, Adam Morfeld and Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln.
Five of those senators co-sponsored the measure.
Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings was the lone opponent. He raised concerns about allowing drugs that haven’t had the scientific research required to obtain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, and called for more research before passing a law as a “grand experiment.”
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Full Article: Senators Ponder Medical Marijuana
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