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Legislative Bill 643, the Medical Cannabis Act, has generated numerous communications with my office, both in favor and against. While I am sympathetic to those who have medical problems, and I understand the perceived need to provide much needed relief to them, I do not believe LB643 is the ideal way to accomplish this goal.
Last year, I was supportive of Senator Sue Crawford’s bill, LB390, which created a Medical Cannabidiol Pilot Study at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to study low-THC cannabidiol oil and its effects on treatment-resistant epileptic seizures. This bill addressed the issue in the correct way, by facilitating scientific and medical research on a drug that is not well researched.
LB643, on the other hand, provides for no medical or scientific research regarding cannabis use. Additionally, without the infrastructure set in place to ensure uniformity and purity in medical cannabis, the potential for harmful byproducts and other impurities is cause for concern. There were comments on the floor during LB643 debate that there have been no deaths attributed to marijuana use. This simply isn’t true. An 18-year-old from Brighton, Colorado died in September of 2012 after stabbing himself 20 times, once in the heart. According to the autopsy report, his THC level was nearly eight times the legal limit in Colorado. This wasn’t the first death in Colorado due to marijuana intoxication.
Numerous medical organizations have policy statements that oppose the legalization of cannabis as is proposed by LB643. Among them are the American Medical Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Cancer Society, the American Glaucoma Society, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states regarding ingestion, “Marijuana edibles, particularly those that look like baked goods or candy, present a poisoning risk to children. All forms of marijuana should be sold in childproof packaging to prevent unintentional ingestions.” In Colorado, hospitals have seen a surge in kids accidentally eating marijuana after it became legalized. Similarly, the AAP opposes the practice of smoking marijuana: “No drug should ever be administered through smoking. Smoking marijuana has a well-documented negative effect on lung function.”
LB643 would also create a greater burden on the Department of Health and Human Services a relatively short time after they have made tremendous strides to improve their service to the State of Nebraska. Essentially, a whole new office would need to be created to oversee the legalization of medical cannabis.
I appreciate all the feedback I have received from District 24, and I hope to receive more. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the issue of medical cannabis. Please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do track our emails, and I do appreciate your input.
As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is email@example.com, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Joe and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address your concerns, thoughts, and needs. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.