Nebraska Cannabis Laws
Is medical marijuana legal in Nebraska?
Nebraska Medical Marijuana | Nebraska Cannabis Laws
Nebraska medical marijuana could come to fruition in 2020. Nebraskans will be voting on a medical marijuana initiative this November. Seth Morris from Berry Law joined to tell us everything we’ll need to know about Nebraska’s potential MMJ market.
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Medical Marijuana in Nebraska
Nebraska is close to legalizing medical marijuana after gathering about 182,000 signatures for an initiative petition campaign, 60,000 more signatures than needed, to place this amendment initiative on the November ballot.
This campaign led by Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana would be adding Article XIX to the Nebraska Constitution allowing adults, with the recommendation of a licensed physician or nurse practitioner, to use, possess, purchase, and produce marijuana to alleviate a serious medical condition.
It would, also, allow children, under 18 years of age, with the recommendation of a licensed physician or nurse practitioner and permission of a parent or legal guardian who is responsible for their healthcare decisions, to use marijuana to alleviate a serious medical condition. Parents of children who use medical marijuana would be allowed to possess, purchase, and produce marijuana to alleviate their child’s medical condition
The ballot measure would authorize the State Legislature of Nebraska to dictate regulations to govern the state’s medical-marijuana program.
The Amendment to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Nebraska
Definition of cannabis: The amendment defines cannabis, for the purposes of this legalization, as:
“all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or its resin”
Licensing: The amendment contemplates the expedition of license for growers, manufacturers, and others, but the details are sparse giving room to the legislature to set the reasonable regulations to follow.
“This subsection shall not prevent the expeditious licensing and reasonable regulation of [growers, manufacturers, etc]. Such regulation and licensing shall not impose an undue burden on the ability of individuals authorized to use cannabis as provided in this section to access the type and quantity of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment they need.”
Taxes on medical marijuana: This amendment does not set taxes for medical marijuana in the state of Nebraska
Consumption of medical marijuana: The initiative does not allow for public consumption, nor does it allow for impaired driving under the influence of medical cannabis.
Employers’ rights: This amendment would allow employers to restrict an employee from working while impaired by medical cannabis.
Current Marijuana legislation in Nebraska
This is the state of affairs in the CornHusker state, according to the Marijuana Policy Project:
“Possession is currently illegal in Nebraska. Possession of one ounce or less is an infraction, which is punishable by a maximum fine of $300, and the judge may order the offender to complete a drug education course. A second conviction for possession of one ounce or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $500, and the third and subsequent convictions for possession of one ounce or less are a misdemeanor and are punishable by a maximum sentence of seven days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500. Cultivation is not allowed. Cultivation penalties in Nebraska are based upon the total weight of the plants found.”
Opposition to the amendment to the legalization of medical marijuana in Nebraska
Despite the overwhelming support this initiative measure has had from all its signatories, it has not been a stranger to criticism. After facing many challenges on the recollection of signatures thanks to the pandemic, now presented, it has become a target to backlash from many figures.
Not only did Gov. Pete Ricketts talk against the initiative measure in a press conference in Lincoln, stating “There is no such thing as medical marijuana. This is not something that would be prescribed by a doctor. It’s not going to be distributed through a pharmacy. These are dispensaries that would be in your communities.”
A challenge to the ballot was also filed in court, arguing that the proposed text violated state rules requiring ballot measures to focus on a single question. Maintaining that the measure poses two separate questions: whether residents should have the right to use marijuana for medical purposes, and whether private companies should be allowed to grow and sell it.
Regardless of these intents to stop the voting of the measure in November, supporters of the legalization are confident that the measure will survive the court’s decision and will pass the November ballot.
Full text of the Constitutional amendment for the legalization of medical marijuana in Nebraska
To add a new section 1 to a new Article XIX:
XIX-1 (1) An individual who is eighteen years of age or older, if recommended by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner, has the right to use, possess, access, purchase, and safely and discreetly produce an adequate supply of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment to alleviate a serious medical condition. Such individual may be assisted by a caregiver in exercising these rights.
(2) An individual who is under eighteen years of age, if recommended by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner and with the permission of a parent or legal guardian with responsibility for health care decisions of such individual, has the right to use cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment to alleviate a serious medical condition. Such individual may be assisted by a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, who may possess, access, purchase, and safely and discreetly produce an adequate supply of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment on behalf of the individual.
(3) The rights protected in subsections (1) and (2) of this section include the right to access or purchase cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment from private entities. Private entities and agents operating on the entities’ behalf in the State of Nebraska may grow, cultivate, process, possess, transport, sell, test, or transfer possession of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment for sale or delivery to an individual authorized to use cannabis under subsection (1) or (2) of this section.
(4) Individuals or entities engaged in actions allowed by, or exercising rights protected by this section shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or civil or criminal penalties under state or local law, except that reasonable penalties may be imposed for any violation of reasonable laws, rules, and regulations enacted pursuant to subsection (5) of this section.
(5) (a) The rights protected in this section shall only be subject to reasonable laws, rules, and regulations that promote the health and safety of individuals authorized to use cannabis as provided in this section; ensure continued access by such individuals to the type and quantity of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment they need; and prevent unlawful diversion of cannabis. Such laws, rules, or regulations shall not impose an undue burden on the exercise of rights protected by this section.
(b) This subsection shall not prevent the expeditious licensing and reasonable regulation of entities and agents acting under subsection (3) of this section Such regulation and licensing shall not impose an undue burden on the ability of individuals authorized to use cannabis as provided in this section to access the type and quantity of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment they need.
(6) This section shall not be construed to: (a) Allow the smoking of cannabis in public; (b) Require detention or correctional facilities to allow the possession or use of cannabis in such facilities; (c) Allow the operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by cannabis; or (d) Otherwise allow engaging in conduct that would be negligent to undertake while impaired by cannabis.
(7) This section does not require an employer to allow an employee to work while impaired by cannabis.
(8) This section does not require any insurance provider to provide insurance coverage for the use of cannabis.
(9) For purposes of this section, cannabis means all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or its resin.
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