Amendment Would Ask Voters to Legalize Marijuana

By 
Unicameral Information Office

Legalization of cannabis in Nebraska for individuals 21 and older would be placed on the ballot for voter consideration under a measure heard Feb. 19 by the Judiciary Committee.

Legislative Resolution 2CA, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, would put the question on the November 2022 ballot. If approved by voters, the Legislature would be required to pass legislation governing the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, consumption and sale of cannabis in any form. Wayne said an individual is arrested for marijuana possession every minute in America – evidence that marijuana use is widespread.

Joe Nigro, representing the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, said the proposal is a step in ending the “failed” war on drugs, he said, which has negatively impacted people of color disproportionately.

“Besides the consequences of criminal penalties for possession, conviction can affect eligibility for federal student loans and housing, as well as loss of immigration status,” Nigro said.

Opposing the measure was Dr. Gary Anthone, chief medical officer for the state Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health. The Federal Drug Administration has a robust review process for approving drug products containing cannabinols, he said.

“Legalization of a drug by a state circumvents the process set out in federal law for approving drugs for safety and efficacy and leads to an increased risk to the public,” Anthone said.

Nebraska State Patrol Superintendent John Bolduc also spoke in opposition. He said that during his time as a police chief in California, he routinely saw legal marijuana products diverted to the black market.

The committee took no immediate action on LR 2CA.

 

The Unicameral Information Office is operated by the Clerk of the Legislature. Find additional coverage at update.legislature.ne.gov.

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