The Judiciary Committee of Nebraska’s Legislature has approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana this week.
The bill, which passed with an overwhelming vote of 5-1, will now move along to the full legislature for consideration.
Sponsored by Sen. Anna Wishart (D), the bill would establish a system allowing patients suffering from a wide range of conditions to use, possess and purchase certain amounts of cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
The bill also removes a catch-all provision that would allow physicians to recommend cannabis for any condition, instead delineating a list of specific qualifying disorders.
There will also be more restrictions on the amount of marijuana patients can possess.
The legislation is now expected to be debated on the unicameral legislature’s Senate floor next week.
“It’s a moderate approach, but it still provides access to people who are most in need,” Wishart said to the Omaha World-Herald. “It is one of the best public health models in the country.”
“The Unicameral Legislature could save patients a year and a half of needless suffering by approving Sen. Wishart’s bill,” Karen O’Keefe, state policies director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “If it fails to do so, voters will take matters into their own hands in November 2020. Polls show the broad, compassionate measure would easily pass.”
“If we’re going to have medicinal cannabis, this one has been tightened up way more than what we may end up with if this is unsuccessful and then we end up with a petition initiative, put it on the ballot and then people vote for it,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Steve Lathrop (D) said to The Lincoln Journal Star.