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Sen. Steve Halloran

Sen. Steve Halloran

District 33

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Update from the Unicameral

March 24th, 2017

My office has received a number of correspondences with regards to my vote on LB622 – Adopt the Medical Cannabis Act.   I did vote no on LB622 because I have concerns with its implementation as well as a number of safety concerns.   While the bill is quite voluminous in its size, there are a lot of details missing that raised some serious concerns for me.

For one, there will be a patient registry, I have concerns about insuring personal privacy.   This Act will authorize manufactures and dispensaries be set up and regulated across the state?   The language in the bill is very vague on this issue. “Independent laboratories” are to be chosen by the manufactures. Historically, self-regulation does not work effectively.  Along the same line, what are correct dosage / strengths needed to properly treat the patient?   Who will determine the criteria of the quality and purity of the “drug” and its manufacture?

I also have concerns about the breadth and depth of the research.   While I heard some personal success stories in the hearing, I did not hear much with regards to clinical studies or FDA approval.   Secondly, if cannabis is so safe, why is there a clause granting immunity from liability for the new state government department overseeing this program?

Additionally, at what level /dosage of medical marijuana is a person impaired enough to no longer safely operate an automobile? We have standards for alcohol and means of measurement of alcohol levels.   Should we not have similar standards for medical marijuana? We have to address the safety concerns of a person under the influence of medical marijuana and potential impact to the public.   Finally, there is a significant net fiscal note through fiscal year 2018-2019 of nearly 2 million dollars attached to the bill.

The committee vote was 7 to 1, so it was clear that my no vote on LB622 would not affect the eventual outcome of whether or not it would pass out of committee and be sent to the legislative floor for a full and fair debate.  I voted no to ensure my concerns were put on the official record.   For individuals seeking some potential remedy for pain and suffering, I do support LB167 – which includes cannabinol as a Schedule V controlled substance for the treatment of health issues such as seizures.

On Tuesday, I was able to meet with a few home school families from Hastings who were visiting the Capitol to learn about how government operates.   I met with Ethan Rogers, Riley Rogers, and members of the Shade, Swanson, and Baker families.  The adventure to the Capitol was especially important for the members of the Shade family, as one of their children will be graduating in the spring.    As a part of their larger overall field trip to Lincoln, the families also visited Morrill Hall, the Sheldon Art Gallery, and the Lincoln Children’s Museum.  It sounds like they made the most of their journey, and it was a pleasure meeting with them.

Sen. Steve Halloran

District 33
Room #1306
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2712
Email: shalloran@leg.ne.gov
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