Last Update: February 3, 2014
Limited medical marijuana protections introduced in Lincoln
Nebraska Sen. Sue Crawford (Bellevue) has introduced legislation that would allow individuals suffering from epilepsy to use medical marijuana oil that is less than 0.3% THC to treat their conditions with approval of their physicians. “Will’s Law” – or LB 1102 – would go a long ways toward helping families who cannot find relief from seizures through traditional medications, but it would also leave thousands of Nebraskans who could benefit from medical marijuana without legal protections.
Lawmakers should consider a medical marijuana proposal that would protect not only people suffering from seizure disorders, but those with multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses as well. Twenty states and the District of Columbia now provide some level of protection from criminal penalties for individuals who use medical marijuana with their doctors' appoval; it's time Nebraska join this list. Please email your state legislators to ask them to provide medical marijuana patients with the protection they need; ask them to support a sensible medical marijuana program.
Did you know Nebraska is a "decrim" state?
Nebraska is one of the 15 states that have decriminalized personal use marijuana possession. First offense possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is a civil infraction punishable under Nebraska law by a $300 fine (and a possible drug education course) instead of jail time, and is a citation as opposed to an arrest. Second offense possession of up to an ounce carries a $400 fine and up to five days in jail, and third offense possession is punishable by up to a week in jail and a fine of $500. Second and third offense possession are misdemeanors, but are only citable, and not arrestable, offenses. Even so, there were still 7,390 marijuana arrests and/or citations in 2011. Unfortunately, these arrests disproportionately affect minority communities. According to the ACLU, African Americans in Nebraska are nearly five times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as their white neighbors, despite similar use rates.
You can write your state legislators to ask them to end marijuana prohibition in the state and replace it with a system that legalizes marijuana for adults 21 and older and regulates it like alcohol.
You can learn more about Nebraska's marijuana penalties and enforcement by reading this report by Jon Gettman, Ph.D.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Nebraska, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.