After November’s election, we are up to 28 states and the District of Columbia who have all decided to ignore federal laws and legalize medical marijuana for patients who could benefit from it. While laws vary from one state to the next, we can at least finally say that over half of the U.S. has access to medical cannabis and that number is still growing. Senator Anna Wishart, along with 10 co-sponsors, has introduced a bill that would legalize the use of medical marijuana for patients diagnosed with any of 20 specific medical conditions in the state of Nebraska now as well.
If passed, LB622 would name at least 20 conditions that would qualify patients to access medical marijuana via a recommendation from a medical practitioner certified under state law. Those patients would have two options when it comes to accessing medical marijuana – they could either wait for all the logistics to be worked out when it comes to regulating and taxing cultivation and dispensaries, or they can name a caregiver who would legally be able to grow the plant for them.
“There are people desperate and in need,” Sen. Wishart said to the Omaha World-Herald. “I can guarantee you they are in every single senator’s district.”
This is by far not the first time that medical marijuana has been addressed by lawmakers in the state. A similar bill was introduced last year but did not make it very far. But the support for such legislation just keeps growing and sometimes it comes from the most unlikely places. With enough stories of how medical cannabis has changed – or even saved – people’s lives, it becomes harder to ignore the need for such laws to be put into place. It’s safer for patients to have access through their doctors, rather than be faced with either suffering or risking prison time just to use a medicine that works.
“Why go through all that if they’re going to finally come around like the other 28 states have, and give some of these people a chance at a better quality of life?” Lawlor said.
If lawmakers are unable to agree enough to pass this bill – or if it were to pass and then be vetoed at the last minute – then there is a group of activists, Nebraska Families 4 Medical Cannabis, who are preparing to start the ballot initiative process. For now, they plan to wait it out and see what happens with the legislature. However, they will not be waiting around forever and if things don’t appear to go anywhere then they will move toward the 2018 ballot to bring the issue to the voters instead.
Hopefully enough lawmakers will come to the realization that this is not a law for people to openly get legal cannabis, but truly a law that is aimed at helping sick people obtain a better quality of life. After all, many states’ lawmakers have set aside their own opinion and let medical marijuana legalization pass through – because if cannabis has the potential to help someone, what right does any one of us have to prevent them from using it?