Nebraska Leaders Push to Legalize Medical Cannabis

State Senators Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld filed a ballot proposal for official review on Feb. 5 that would allow Nebraskans to vote for the legalization of medical cannabis. Their plan is to place the initiative on the November 2020 ballot.

“We have evidence showing that it helps,” Wishart told 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 effort has been ongoing over the past few months. “We are quickly being surrounded by states that have sensible laws on medical marijuana, and we do not,” Adam Morfeld told The New York Times last December. “A lot of Nebraskans are looking to other states—to Utah and Missouri—and saying, ‘Wow, these are also conservative states and they have much more reasonable policies about this than we do.’”

The proposal if passed would give Nebraskans the legal right to use, possess and access cannabis products and equipment provided they obtain a reference from a healthcare professional. The initiative also leaves room for residents to grow a sufficient amount of cannabis.

Not everyone is happy about this proposal. Nebraska has attempted to legalize medical cannabis in the past. Each time, the measures fell short of votes or Gov. Pete Ricketts’s veto stalled all progress. He along with the attorney general, Doug Peterson are both against the legalization of medical cannabis. In a statement given last December, Mr. Peterson said, “If there is medical evidence to support the use of cannabis for treatment purposes, then the appropriate method is to seek F.D.A. approval.” “Any efforts to advance medical marijuana must be led by medical science and not the industry or politicians,” he added.

Wishart said she would propose another bill in 2019 “to give the Legislature one more chance. I think this is very achievable. We are starting to get a history in Nebraska of passing ballot initiatives when the Legislature is unable to move forward on an issue.”

 

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