Medical Marijuana Bill Hearing lasts hours due to number of testifiers

LINCOLN, Neb. — After previous attempts to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska, Sen. Anna Wishart says she thinks this time it will pass. Wishart introduced LB110, or the Adopt Medical Cannabis Act and presented the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday.

It was a packed house at the hearing, with dozens of passionate people on both sides of the debate wanting to testify. So many people showed up that the committee had to make special time for all of them.

The committee set aside one hour for those in favor, one hour for those opposed, time to address three other bills on the docket, and then went back to finish up with testimony.

In total, the hearing lasted nearly eight hours.

LB110 would allow patients with medical conditions that range from cancer to PTSD to seizures and anxiety to have access to medical marijuana, but there are some stipulations.

You can have no more than 3 oz. of marijuana on your person, 8 oz. at home and infused products with no more than 2,400 mg. of THC.

People for the bill say they need relief for their pain as well as the pain of their families.

"I've certainly been prescribed every prescription medication known to man," said Lia Post, who says medical cannabis would provide relief from her Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Crista Eggers said she testified in favor of the bill because her son, Colton, suffers from seizures.

"If it was your child, you would stand right here where I am. Fighting for them. Because that's my job as a mom," Eggers said.

Opponents say they don't believe the bill will protect those who suffer, but instead leave the door open for complete, recreational marijuana legalization.

"I see this as putting the sick and the suffering of our state in a giant medical experiment," said Mary Hilton, whose daughter also suffers from seizures.

Joining Hilton in opposition was former Nebraska football head coach Tom Osborne, who says he's seen the impacts of marijuana use on his players.

"This idea that marijuana is not addictive is a myth," Osborne said. "It's not dangerous is a myth, and I think the public needs to be aware of that."

If the bill passes, Sen. Wishart says she would like to see a regulation and distribution system set up by 2021. But first, the committee must decide if it passes and goes to the unicameral floor for full debate.

If it fails there, some senators have said they want it to become a ballot initiative, letting voters decide.