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Nebraska Legislative Committee Advances Medical Cannabis Bill

Nebraska’s Legislative Judiciary Committee has advanced legislation to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program in the state, setting the bill up for a floor vote.

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Nebraska’s Legislative Judiciary Committee on Tuesday advanced medical cannabis legislation moving it to the floor for a vote, KPVI reports. The measure includes amendments outlining qualifying conditions for the program which narrows the initial version of the legislation.

The committee in 2019 advanced similar legislation but the measure died on the Senate floor despite the sponsor, Sen. Anna Wishart (D), agreeing to all of the opposition’s amendments. Wishart is the also sponsor of the legislation approved by the committee yesterday.

“One victory down, now on to the full Legislature for debate,” she wrote on Twitter following the committee’s approval.

Last year, advocates had successfully gathered enough signatures to put the issue to voters; however, the state Supreme Court ruled the question violated the one-issue rule for ballot questions.

Sen. Steve Lathrop (D), Judiciary Committee chairman, noted that there is a petition drive waiting to be circulated if lawmakers don’t act on the reforms and it would be “the most compelling argument” in favor of the legislation on the floor.

“The opportunity for us to regulate medical marijuana is strongest if we do it legislatively, rather than try to react to a constitutional amendment that comes to us by way of a petition initiative.” – Lathrop via KPVI

Wishart, a co-founder of Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, indicated in December that she plans to work on a ballot initiative for adult-use cannabis legalization. Organizers would need 250,000 total signatures to put the issue to voters next year.

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