A second medical marijuana bill has advanced in the Unicameral.
Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue sponsors Legislative Bill 390 which would authorize a pilot program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to use a marijuana oil to treat intractable epileptic seizures.
“Under this bill, the only allowed substance is cannabidiol or CBD that contains .03% THC or less,” Crawford explained in her opening remarks to legislative floor debate. “This is the same amount of THC that can be found in industrial hemp and with this low THC level, the substance does not create a high. Thus, there’s not recreational use for minors or adults.”
Earlier, the legislature advanced LB 643 sponsored by Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue. Patterned after a Minnesota law, LB 643 would allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes if taken in pill or oil form or through vapor. It prohibits marijuana to be smoked.
Crawford said the two medical marijuana bills can be consider compatible and not in competition with each other.
Still, Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion questioned why legislators should approve a second medical marijuana measure.
“With Sen. Garrett’s bill moving forward, why is there still a need for this bill?” Kintner asked Crawford.
Crawford replied that LB 643 would not become effective until July of next year at the earliest while her bill would be effective immediately upon passage.
“And we actually do have product now that is actually pharmaceutical-grade product so we can get it up and running now and provide help to these patients right now,” Crawford told Kintner.
Crawford stressed that her legislation complies with federal law, giving access to children and other patients who have seizures that do not respond to conventional treatment.
Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins said many have questioned how the success of the program would be measured.
“Colleagues, this would be my opinion of success: one child having one less seizure,” Bloomfield stated. “That is success.”
Yet, later in the legislative floor debate Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft was a bit more cautious.
“While Sen. Bloomfield wants to make sure that one child is better, I want to make sure that one child does not get worse,” Brasch said.
LB 390 advanced on a 34-to-1 vote with nine senators not voting.