After an intense debate in the Nebraska legislature in its past two sessions, medical cannabis will again be a point of interest in the Capitol. Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln plans to propose a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Nebraska. This bill will be comparable to previous bills that have been introduced by Senator Tommy Garrett in the past two years, however, they have not been passed. Garrett did not win his reelection this past November. The bill was wiped out after lawmakers voted to end a filibuster 30-49, last year.

This year there are 17 new senators that some think are in favor of passing a law to legalize medical cannabis. Lincoln Senator Adam Morfeld stated, “Overall, I think the public supports the proposal. I think if medical marijuana went on the ballot, it would likely pass in Nebraska.” He said the legislature is expected to vote how they feel their district is leaning, so it’s important for students to share their views with their representative. Morfeld represents those who live on campus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and plans on supporting the bill.

Morfeld stated, “A lot of students are outside of Lincoln; their legislator needs to hear from them and their opinion on the issue. Particularly if students have certain medical conditions that would be aided by this type of treatment, they should definitely get in touch and share their personal story.” Students in favor of the legalization of cannabis have many thoughts of the beneficial impacts it would have on the economy.

Political science and sociology Allison Black stated, “To me, it is pretty obvious why an economist or economic student should be interested in medical marijuana. Just because of the cost versus benefit idea.” Black is the vice president of the Economics Club on campus. Last semester, the club hosted a debate at a meeting to allow students to gain a fuller concept of what legalizing cannabis would entail. Black said, “I think if at any time this should be important, it would be about now. I think a big interest for people is the financial impact it would have.”

Many students feel the legalization of medical cannabis would allow for a significant increase of tax dollars, which could go to benefit public schools or help with the state deficit. Morfeld also argues that medical cannabis would provide relief from “seizures and chronic pain.” While the proposal has caused heated arguments on both sides of the issue for the betterment of the Nebraskan public as a whole, Black said she believes the state may be moving in a more accepting direction. She continued, “Opinions on medical marijuana have been changing quickly. I think that the public is going quicker to accept it.” She said part of that comes from the ubiquity of the drug in the state, as well as others in the United States. “Either fortunately or unfortunately, marijuana is already in Nebraska. Black said it isn’t quite clear exactly when Nebraska will legalize the plant, despite the rising popularity of supporting the legalization of cannabis. She said, “Many of the legal issues will likely take decades to work out, but the market is growing quickly, and the public would probably react immediately.”

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