Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Nebraska Is Serious About Medical Marijuana Legalization

As more conservative states like Utah and Iowa legalize the medical use of cannabis, and Nebraska finds itself increasingly surrounded by medicalized and legalized states, proponents of a sensible medical approach to cannabis are gaining ground. With serious plans ready to be implemented, lawmakers have begun a petition drive to get medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot.

Beyond “accepting reality,” backers of the measure say that improving public health is a main goal. They point to the plethora of states that have gone medical already, including the District of Columbia, and see medicalization as inevitable.

Though the federal government still holds that cannabis belongs in the schedule I category with no known medical applications, the number of patients and even recreational users add up to enough anecdotal evidence to squash the old stigmas. Though it may take some more time and activist elbow grease, cannabis re- or de-scheduling is only logical.

Logic also applies to the steps Nebraska is taking to ensure a shot on the ballot. State Senators Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld lead Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws and it looks like they’re giving the Cornhusker State a real boost on the path to establishing a sophisticated medical program.

Marijuana Policy Project is backing the play and though seeking a constitutional amendment to allow for the use of medical marijuana, and Wishart is giving the Legislature another go at passing it in January, the chances of a filibuster are high, which it would not likely get through. So, the plan is to have the question on the 2020 ballot as a backup.

It takes a village. As Wishart said, “This is the group that’s going to be driving the campaign and then the steering committees are going to be the groups (of) constituents who are going to be affected by this.” With her forward thinking approach and with cannabis being a popular topic in Nebraska, there is a very good chance that the midwest might turn another shade of green in less than two years.

Thirty-three states and D.C. have medical laws and 10 states and D.C. have legalized outright. States that even advocates once thought would never even consider legalizing in some form or another are doing so and others are gaining excitement and momentum, even if their time isn’t quite yet. It’s a buzzing time in the cannabis world and Nebraska is officially on the jay-dar.


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