A bill has been filed in the Nebraska State Legislature that would legalize medical marijuana in certain circumstances, effectively blocking federal laws which prohibit its use under any circumstances.
Introduced by State Senator Tommy Garrett, Legislative Bill 643 (LB643) would create a medical cannabis program for individuals with a “debilitating medical condition that has been diagnosed by a physician.”
Among the bill’s text is as follows:
"A person shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or occupational or professional licensing board, for providing a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver with cannabis paraphernalia for purposes of a qualifying patient’s medical use of cannabis."
The bill would also protect qualifying patients from being denied a lease or a job solely due to their use of medical marijuana, though it would not require them to allow it to be consumed on their property. Nor can a patient be deprived of child custody or visitation rights because of their use of medical marijuana. It also protects practicing physicians from repercussions for recommending medical cannabis.
Although it draws a legal distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, LB643 marks an enormous step in the right direction for cannabis rights advocates in the state of Nebraska. The top-down federal mandates that have failed for so many decades are being replaced with a more decentralized, compassionate approach that is responsive to the needs of the people.
Activists should embrace any opportunity that they have to make it more difficult for people to be locked in cages for the non-violent non-crime of marijuana possession. The end of the federal drug war is on its way whether detractors like it or not. Measures like LB643 can help grease the wheels on our way toward that inevitable goal!
The bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee where it will need to pass through successfully before it can receive a full vote in the state legislature.
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
If you live in the state of Nebraska, contact your state legislators immediately. It is important for you to politely urge them to support and co-sponsor this important bill. That is how you can make a difference in the fight against cannabis prohibition.
If you live in different state, contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to LB643 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.