Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Medical cannabis bill clears committee vote, heads to floor for legislative debate
editor's pick topical alert top story

Medical cannabis bill clears committee vote, heads to floor for legislative debate

  • Updated
  • 0
Marijuana petition

Nebraska Sen. Anna Wishart wears a face mask in support of medical marijuana while addressing supporters and media members outside of the state Capitol in early July.

Anna Wishart pushing bill to legalize medical marijuana

The Legislature will get the chance to debate a bill legalizing medicinal cannabis after the Judiciary Committee sent the proposal to the floor Tuesday.

The committee voted 5-2 to send an amended version of Lincoln Sen. Anna Wishart's bill (LB474) to the full Legislature.

Wishart's bill would allow for the cultivation, processing and use of medicinal cannabis, while also setting limits on how much a person can possess and where cannabis products can be used.

Medical cannabis supporters try once more to legalize use in Nebraska; Osborne joins governor in opposition

It also establishes a regulatory framework and fee schedule, and creates an oversight board and enforcement department.

An amendment adopted by the committee Tuesday after negotiations with the Nebraska Medical Association outlines what medical conditions qualify an individual to enroll in the registry program, which Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop said narrows the bill.

In 2019, the Judiciary Committee advanced similar legislation brought by Wishart to the floor, where it got several hours of debate before falling off the agenda after failing to show enough support to move on.

Lincoln senator behind medical marijuana bill prompted by science, empathy

Since that time, Wishart and Sen. Adam Morfeld, also of Lincoln, sponsored a petition drive to put legalizing medical marijuana on the 2020 general election ballot that collected 196,000 signatures from all corners of the state.

The Nebraska Supreme Court removed the petition from the ballot, however, ruling 5-2 that the language violated the state's single-subject rule.

Wishart and Morfeld quickly filed new language with Secretary of State Bob Evnen that would amend the state's constitution with broader language than what is currently before state lawmakers.

Nebraska senator wants rules on initiative petitions clarified after court ruling torpedoed medical marijuana

“Persons in the State of Nebraska shall have the right to cannabis in all its forms for medical purposes," the new petition language reads.

Lathrop, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said the petition drive waiting to be circulated if the Legislature doesn't act will be "the most compelling argument" in favor of LB474 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," he said.

Ricketts steps up attack on legalizing marijuana in Nebraska

Voting in favor of sending the bill to the full Legislature were Lathrop, Morfeld and Sens. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, Wendy DeBoer of Bennington and Terrell McKinney of Omaha.

Sens. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln and Julie Slama of Peru voted against advancing the bill. Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth did not vote.

Wishart celebrated the vote to advance her priority bill in a tweet Tuesday afternoon: "One victory down, now on to the full Legislature for debate."

Proponents again call on Nebraska lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana
'They're not going to stop us' -- medical marijuana advocates push forward
Medical marijuana supporters filing new language for 2022 Nebraska ballot


Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS


Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News

Husker News