Supporters skeptical of reworked medical marijuana bill

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Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 10:59 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 18, 2022 at 9:18 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - The controversial medical marijuana bill introduced last month at the State Capitol will be scrapped for another plan according to the bill’s sponsor. Opponents say it’s still not good enough and they’ll focus on the petition drive.

Crista Eggers is leading the effort to organize the Nebraska signature drive to put medical marijuana on the ballot. Her 7-year-old son Colton suffers from uncontrollable epileptic seizures.

“There is nothing joyful in this fight except the hope that someday, my child can take a few drops of oil that my doctor has recommended. And maybe it will help. Maybe his life will be better. If not his, maybe somebody else’s,” said Eggers.

“That was just a shell bill,” said Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte. “I did it two hours prior to deadline to drop a bill. It’s not gonna be the final product.”

He plans to replace his medical cannabis act with a bill. That could be done on Thursday. Groene says it’ll allow people to grow cannabis and doctors to prescribe it. The bill will also have more options for those who qualify than his current plan.

“Our bill will treat it like medicine. It will respect it. And we added inhalers, pills, and inhalers. That’s what medicine is. I don’t know of another medicine you smoke,” said Groene.

Lincoln Senator Anna Wishart is skeptical. She said the legislature had its chance to do something last year with her bill and for years, along with the governor, they’ve done everything to stop medical marijuana.

“I am reviewing the amendment but from first read, it still has major issues that would exclude many Nebraskans who are sick from access to this plant-based medicine,” Wishart said.

Meanwhile, a drive to collect signatures continues. The goal is to get 250,000 of them by July. That’ll be enough to put medical marijuana to a vote of the people in November.

Many parents said they consider that the best option.

“This is a state that cares so deeply about its people. I don’t know why this is so different,” said Eggers. “The clock is ticking for our children and suffering people.”

The hearing on the medical cannabis bill will take place before the judiciary committee this coming Wednesday afternoon.

Proponents say it's time to bring the matter to Nebraska voters.

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