Senators hear testimony on whether to allow use of medical marij - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Senators hear testimony on whether to allow use of medical marijuana

Senators hear testimony on whether to allow use of medical marijuana

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It's been one of the most debated topics in America - should marijuana be legalized for medical purposes? 

State Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln wants to let voters decide, proposing an amendment to the Nebraska constitution to allow it. 

"This resolution, if passed by the legislature, would place the language in the resolution on the 2018 November ballot and would give Nebraska residents the constitutional right to use medical cannabis - subject to rules and regulations determined by the legislature," Wishart said. 

Those for and against the legislation packed a hearing room at the capitol Thursday to voice their opinions. 

Ryan Post, a representative from the attorney general's office says, even if the resolution were to pass, federal law would supersede it. 

"Unless and until Congress modifies this clear prohibition, any regulatory scheme by the state of Nebraska to facilitate, promote, or license marijuana products - even for medicinal purposes would be preempted and illegal under federal law," Post said. 

Some argue, much like opioids, legalized cannabis would get into the wrong hands and be abused. 

Shelley Gillen, whose 15 year-old son, Will, suffers from hundreds of seizures a day, says such thinking is insulting to her family. 

"What a bout Will," she asked the members of the Judiciary Committee.

"Doesn't his life matter? Why are we more concerned protecting the potential abuser rather than those who are innocently sick and suffering?" 

Christina Hitz, whose son also suffers from seizures, pleaded with lawmakers to push the resolution forward. 

"There have been multiple holes in our drywall caused by his body smashing against the wall during seizures," Hitz said. 

Health officials say, despite potential upsides, there still is not enough legitimate research to know whether the drug would be safe. 

"There are potential risk for the products," said Dr. Thomas Williams, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

"Because the lack of conclusive evidence and research, there is no existing standard for therapeutic dosing."

But for many in attendance like Carl Munford, a veteran who says he has several health problems as a result of his service, the potential risks are worth chancing to find relief for the pain they feel every day. 

Munford showed the committee a bag of prescriptions he says he takes every day. 

"It's what keeps me sane," he said. 

"It keeps my blood pressure down, basically just keeps me alive. If medical marijuana was legal here, I would not need (it)." 

Channel 8 Eyewitness News put out a Facebook poll asking whether medical marijuana use should be allowed in Nebraska. 

More than 86% of people said yes, 14% said no. 
 

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