Nebraska Tribe Interested In Growing Marijuana

NEBRASKA: About an hour and half north of the city of Omaha, the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska sits on 300 square miles of reservation land stretching into Iowa’s Monona County.

“We need jobs,” Daniel Webster said, who lives on the reservation.

KETV reports, historical issues such as poverty and unemployment have reached critical levels.

“Right now, my community has a 69 percent unemployment rate,” Omaha Tribe of Nebraska chairman Vernon Miller said.

Miller said the dire economy is leading to desperate solutions.


Medical Marijuana Debate Heating Up; Sen. Garrett Takes Trip To Minnesota

NEBRASKA: The fight for legal weed in Nebraska headed to Minnesota, where the plant grows behind bulletproof glass and steel doors.

Medicinal marijuana was legalized in Minnesota this summer and Sen. Tommy Garrett’s bill is a mirror image of the state’s new law.

“What better opportunities are there than to go up there and to see how the program is doing?” Garrett said.

Garrett invited every Nebraska lawmaker to go up to Minnesota with him but, according to Garrett, they decided not to go at the last minute.

Garrett returned to Nebraska with plenty of proof, he said, that medical marijuana can be legalized and regulated. His staff provided KETV NewsWatch 7 with some video and photos of his trip.

Minnesota medical cannabis programs don’t allow patients to smoke the drug or grow it themselves, which are some of the toughest rules in the nation.


Omaha Tribe Considers Trying To Legalize Marijuana

NEBRASKA: The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska is considering getting into the marijuana business.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that tribe members will vote Tuesday on whether the tribe should allow recreational use of marijuana, medical use of marijuana and growing industrial hemp on its northeast Nebraska reservation.

The ultimate decision lies with the Tribal Council.

The referendum vote simply will give the council guidance on whether to move forward.

Positive Drug Tests A Drag On The Court System

NEBRASKA:  The vast majority of people given drug tests before Madison County District Court hearings come up positive, and that’s creating a problem for the court system.

Madison County Attorney Joe Smith said there have been “a tremendous amount of failures” of drug tests, which lead to cases being delayed and increases in cost to the county and the defendants.

While just about anyone can be required to take a drug test before appearing in district court, most of those who are asked to do so are either suspected of being under the influence or are in court on a drug charge.

“One recent day we actually tested about all of the people who came in on drug offenses to just check compliance. And eight out of the 11 bonds were revoked, and (the defendants’) hearings had to be rescheduled, which is a drag on the system,” Smith said.

Nebraska Lawmakers Advance Medical Marijuana Bill

NEBRASKA: Nebraskans suffering from debilitating illnesses could find relief from marijuana under a bill that cleared a first-round vote in the Legislature.

“Colleagues, we need to be strong, we need to be brave,” said Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue. “We need to help those that are sick, and ailing and out of options.”

Senators voted 27-12 Tuesday to advance a measure that would allow pharmacists to distribute cannabis to patients with cancer, epilepsy and other chronic illnesses.

The bill by Garrett gained support after senators adopted an amendment that would prohibit smoking cannabis and would not include chronic pain as a qualifying condition to receive the drug.


Nebraska Senators To Hash Out Legalizing Medical Marijuana

NEBRASKA:  Nebraska senators will debate whether to legalize medical marijuana under a bill proponents say is aimed at residents struggling with debilitating seizures.

A legislative committee voted 7-1 Monday to advance a measure to create cannabis centers where marijuana would be produced and dispensed. Patients and caregivers could register with the state to obtain the drug for treatment.

The committee advanced a version allowing a limited number of manufacturing centers and specifying that patients could not ingest the drug by smoking it.


Medical Marijuana Debated In Nebraska’s Capitol

NEBRASKA:  A bill by Bellevue Sen. Tommy Garrett called the Cannabis Compassion and Care Act, would legalize medical marijuana. Among those who came to the Capitol to testify in favor of it was David Swarts of Palmyra. In an interview before the hearing, Swarts said he used to view the issue differently. “I used to think everything I’d been told for the last 60 years: that marijuana was the devil weed and that it led to other drugs,” he said.

Swarts said he changed his mind after his son-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he and his family discovered research that he said indicated cannabis could slow the growth of tumors and even allow cancer cells to destroy themselves.

Meanwhile, members of the Nebraska Sheriffs’ Association came prepared to testify against it. Among them was Grant County Sheriff Shawn Hebbert. “The Sheriffs’ Association is opposed to the legalization of marijuana in any way, shape or form, let alone through medical use. Medical use is not acceptable practice. If it was, the FDA would have approved it,” he said. “We wouldn’t need Cannabis Compassion Care Centers as this bill calls for. We already have pharmacies.”

Supporters of medical marijuana argue that it has proven more effective that FDA-approved drugs in treating epileptic seizures and in easing the pain of people undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

K2/Marijuana Bill Introduced In Hopes Of Reducing Prison Overcrowding

NEBRASKA:  Nebraska‘s prisons are more than 150 percent over capacity. Because of that, senators are trying to find ways to keep more people out of prisons. K2 and weed-both forms of marijuana. One real- the other synthetic.

When it comes to the drug, Hyannis Sen. Al Davis wants to give judges the option to send someone to jail or not.

“Let’s not ruin someone’s life and incur tremendous cost at our local area to enforce some legislation that’s very gray and confusing,” said Sen. Davis.

And keeping a person out of prison could help solve the prison over crowding problem.


Nebraska And Oklahoma Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

NEBRASKA:  In the most serious legal challenge to date against Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, two neighboring states have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the history-making law.

Nebraska and Oklahoma filed the lawsuit directly with the nation’s highest court on Thursday. The two states argue in the lawsuit that, “the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system.”

“Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems,” the lawsuit alleges.

Petition Aims To Put Medical Marijuana To Nebraska Vote

NEBRASKA:  The state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws — is circulating a petition to put the initiative up for voter approval, said John Smith of McCook, the chapter’s executive director.

“It’s a proposed constitutional amendment, just allowing (medical) patients the access to possess, grow and distribute amongst other patients medical marijuana,” Smith said.  A person would need a doctor’s recommendation to legally possess medical marijuana.

Smith said organizers must turn in at least 125,000 valid petition signatures by July 1 to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

“We’ve got about 175 circulators out there getting signatures right now, and we’ve probably got turned in somewhere between 3,000 to 4,000,” Smith said.