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It has been yet another busy week in the Nebraska Legislature. We continued with our late nights this week as we debated the budget and some other major bills.
One of our most important accomplishments as a body was passing the Nebraska State Budget. Overall, I was pleased with the budget and commend the diligence of the Appropriations Committee. There were some concerns expressed, during the debate, of further trimming our spending. I agree with that concern. However, I am very supportive of the funding we provided the University of Nebraska and State Colleges. I was also pleased that this year’s budget provided the funding for 4 additional specialty courts across the State of Nebraska. I believe they are a great addition to our justice system because they will provide Nebraskans with an option for diverting people from incarceration.
In addition to the budget we also tackled the discussion of medical marijuana, LB110 introduced by Senator Wishart to Adopt the Medical Cannabis Act. I appreciate Senator Wishart’s hard work on this bill for the past three years. However, I am not in favor of a Legislative solution to medical marijuana. I have deep compassion for the suffering, for those looking for answers, and for those needing different treatment options, but I have many concerns regarding this bill. I come from a medical family (my father is a physician) and I also was a Pharmaceutical Salesperson in the area of neuro sciences, which included medications for anxiety, depression, and pain, so that history forms my opinions.
Among my concerns are, that LB110 places no limit on THC levels, this is the component of marijuana that is responsible for the “high” that can be dispensed. For example, industrial hemp’s THC levels are around .3%, marijuana of the 1960’s and ‘70’s was around 5%. Today’s recreational marijuana is around 20-30% and lab created THC can be as high as 90+%. There is also no limit on how often some people could get access to the drug. I believe that medical marijuana should be handled by the FDA. The Legislature is not a group of medically or scientifically minded people, we are a group of regular citizens with drastically different backgrounds. I truly believe this a job for scientists and not for a citizen legislature.
There are so many unknown risks when it comes to approving a drug and I don’t feel comfortable putting those who are suffering, as well as their families, through a process that could come with unforeseen pain and risks, in addition to what they have and are experiencing.
These are some of the reasons that I choose not to support LB110.
We wrapped up the week on Thursday, May 16th and during that session day, Speaker Scheer announced that we will be ending the Legislative Session earlier than expected. This year’s Legislative Session will be ending on Friday, May 31, 2019.
As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is email@example.com.