Bill proposes to legalize medical marijuana

Posted By: Megan Conway

The debate on marijuana is decades old.  Is it harmful or is it helpful? Now, it reaches the floor of Nebraska’s Legislature. Senator Tommy Garrett of Bellevue and Papillion introduced the Cannabis Compassion and Care Act on Tuesday that’d make marijuana legal for medical use. 

“It’s time to step up and do this. There are a lot of people that are suffering that would benefit from the medical use of marijuana. It’s all about helping people and making their lives better,” says Garrett.

The bill says modern medical research has discovered beneficial uses for cannabis in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions according to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. 

“We’re not trying to deny that that exists, but we’re saying if you’re going to do that, go through the Federal process of making sure it’s an approved drug and then law enforcement will not be placed in such a difficult position,” says Attorney General Doug Peterson.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some THC-based drugs are already FDA approved. Twenty three states and the District of Colombia have legalized marijuana for medical use. 

Garrett says one family showed him 6 months worth of medical bills for their child adding up to $17,000 and often the mix of pills prescribed for certain medical issues cause side effects worse than the actual illness. He says marijuana would replace that. 

“Anyone whose a parent will tell you, you’ll do anything for your child; anything to minimize their pain and suffering. Don’t let the actions of a few people who might try to abuse it from helping us to help people with legitimate needs and concerns,” says Garrett.

Peterson says the laws regulating medical use need to be stricter and making the drug more available to people will just cause more problems.

“It doesn’t take long that there’s abuse with that and it becomes readily available to people who don’t really have the medical need,” says Peterson.

“Let’s get the dialogue going; let’s find out what the peoples’ perspectives are on this,” says Garrett.

Even if the bill is passed, recreational use would remain illegal. Now, it will go to committee for debate and then voted on a later time.