A state senator pushing for Nebraska to legalize medical marijuana says he will continue to push for the change in the upcoming legislative session.
Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue dismisses charges that his bill would lead to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, similar to how a ballot initiative in Colorado paved the way in that state.
“Completely different bill and the fact that it’s a clear path from medicinal to recreational, give me a freaking break, that’s obscene,” Garrett tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “It’s like they’re making this out to be the big bogeyman. We’re looking to help people who are sick and ailing and other prescription medications are not working for them.”
An undercover drug investigator from Colorado came to the state Capitol recently to warn Nebraska lawmakers to be careful when considering legislation to legalize medical marijuana.
James Gerhardt with the Thornton Police Department said Colorado has been frustrated in its attempt to regulate marijuana growing and use since the state legalized recreational marijuana. He said adoption of medical marijuana led to the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Garrett says he bases his bill on a law passed in Minnesota and hopes to answer the questions legislative opponents raised during the last session.
Garrett says he felt like he was building support for his bill during the legislative session when other factors interfered.
“We were being filibustered last year and during that filibuster, it was the same time that the legislature had overridden the governor’s veto on the death penalty, and a lot of my colleagues were taking a lot of heat from their constituents and everything and they just didn’t want this additional heat of the medical marijuana; to be taking heat on that,” according to Garrett.
Garrett says no one is arguing for recreational use of marijuana.
LB 643 won preliminary approval after first-round debate on a 27-12 vote during this year’s legislative session. Eight senators abstained from the vote. Garrett says he will bring the same proposal before the Unicameral next year.