The Judiciary Committee further tightened LB474 before advancing it to the floor for Wednesday’s debate, adding a list of medical conditions that would qualify an individual to enroll in a medical marijuana registry.
But opponents, led by Sen. Julie Slama of Peru, launched a filibuster Wednesday morning, arguing that marijuana was recognized as a Schedule I drug in federal law and that legalizing marijuana for medical use was unconstitutional and would throw the doors wide open for recreational use.
Backers of the bill, pointing to last year’s successful signature drive, said LB474 might be the last chance the Legislature gets to have a say in the issue before voters enshrine the right in the state’s constitution.
“When this gets on the ballot, we will not have control of it,” Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop said. “This is the last train out of town if you want to do some regulating of this.”
Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk said while he opposes recreational marijuana, he had compassion for those seeking to use it to address their suffering.
“I think we’d be awfully smart to find a way to get a very limited medicinal marijuana opportunity to patients that need it, and not to the broader public,” Flood said.
Under the Legislature’s rules, Wishart will need the support of 32 other senators to break the filibuster at the end of eight hours of debate.