LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A conservative lawmaker from rural, western Nebraska is taking a leading role in the push to allow medical marijuana in the state. Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte introduced a legalization bill that would impose tight controls on the drug.
Groene previously opposed legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. In May 2015, Groene chose not to support bill LB643 for medical cannabis, saying that the efficacy of medical marijuana hadn't been verified by the FDA and testimony for its effectiveness was only based on anecdotal testimony. He recently said he changed his mind after hearing from families who said they would benefit from its legalization. He also notes that Nebraska, Idaho and Kansas are the only three states that still criminalize all sales of products with THC, marijuana’s active ingredient.
Groene doesn’t support two potential ballot measures that would allow people to smoke marijuana for medical reasons, including existing petitions from the group Nebraskans For Medical Marijuana, and introduced his own bill, LB 1275. The U.S. News and World Report explains that the senator's bill would have a limited scope. "Groene's bill would only allow the drug in oil or pill form. Patients could only use it to treat late-stage cancer, uncontrolled seizures, muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy, or a terminal illness in people with less than a year to live."
In May 2019, Nebraska legalized the consumption and distribution of hemp, while CBD that contains less than .3% of THC was legalized at the federal level, effective in January 2019 through the Farm Bill of 2018.