(Neb)-Medical Pot Bill Moves Out Of Committee
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Unicameral's Judiciary Committee voted 5-1 Friday to send to the full legislature a bill legalizing medical marijuana. Floor debate is expected to begin Wednesday.
The bill's sponsor, State Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln told NET after the committee vote that her reaction was one of "pure joy" because marijuana can provide relief to victims of a wide range of diseases and medical conditions.
Wishart agreed during committee debate to sharply reduce the scope of the bill. Patients wouldn't be able to smoke marijuana, although some vaping systems would be allowed, and the bill lists two dozen medical conditions that would qualify for medial cannabis.
Patients would need written certification from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant, and there would be a Cannabis Enforcement Department to oversee pot growing operations and dispensaries, which could be banned by local governments.
Wishart said the bill also addresses concerns raised by some gun rights groups that a state registry of medical marijuana patients could be used to take guns away from people who have to sign a federal form asking whether they possess or use marijuana.
The registry would now be voluntary, but people not wishing to register would have to present their medical certification to get the drug.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, but the bill appears to face tough opposition in the legislature and from Gov Pete Ricketts.
If the medical marijuana bill doesn't pass, supporters are already preparing an initiative campaign to let the voters legalize medical pot. Wishart is one of its backers.
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