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Conservative Nebraska Sen. Groene sponsors medical pot bill

The Nebraska State Capitol Building
The Nebraska State Capitol Building(Ryan Swanigan (KOLN))
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 3:23 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A conservative lawmaker from rural, western Nebraska took a leading role Thursday in the push to allow medical marijuana in the state.

Sen. Mike Groene, of North Platte, introduced a legalization bill that would impose tight controls on the drug.

Groene, a Republican who previously opposed legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, has said he changed his mind after hearing from families who said they would benefit. He also noted that Nebraska, Idaho and Kansas are the only three states that still criminalize all sales of products with THC, marijuana’s active ingredient.

Groene said he doesn’t support two potential ballot measures, one that would allow recreational marijuana and another that would let people smoke marijuana for medical reasons. But he said it’s clear that most Nebraska residents support medical marijuana, and the more sweeping measures will pass unless lawmakers enact a bill that lets them regulate it.

Groene’s bill would only allow the drug in oil or pill form. Patients could only use it to treat late-stage cancer, uncontrolled seizures, muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy, or a terminal illness in people with less than a year to live.

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