Marijuana remains illegal in Nebraska but for a few federally approved drugs.

Though Iowa-made medical cannabis products are legal in Iowa for specific conditions, Nebraskans can’t cross the Missouri to purchase products as they can to play slot machines or bet on a football game at an Iowa casino.

Supporters of legalizing medical cannabis in Nebraska, having failed to get traction in the State Legislature, are running a petition drive to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November general election ballot that would give Nebraskans the right to use medical cannabis for serious medical conditions.

The initiative has garnered opposition: Gov. Pete Ricketts and Attorney General Doug Peterson have opposed the measure, and a group called Smart Approaches to Marijuana Nebraska has aired radio ads.

Ricketts spelled out his arguments in a column Monday, reiterating that he firmly opposes legislative legalization and will veto any legislation that tries to make marijuana use lawful in the Cornhusker State.

He also wrote that the marijuana proponents have been trying to “circumvent” the medical research process. He called for sticking with the “tried-and-true system” that’s already researching what components of marijuana have medical benefits.

State Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln, a co-sponsor of the Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws petition, said Nebraska has a lot of other states it can look to in deciding on the best public health model for a program that also provides access to patients who need it.

Neighbor Missouri is one that comes to mind, she said. It has a seed-to-sale tracking system and a rigorous product testing program, both of which she feels strongly about. Missouri officials last week announced the 192 dispensaries that will be allowed to sell medical marijuana to qualified patients starting later this year.

“I would like to see Nebraska be known as the state with the most high-quality medical marijuana program,” she said.

Julie Anderson is a medical reporter for The World-Herald. She covers health care and health care trends and developments, including hospitals, research and treatments. Follow her on Twitter @JulieAnderson41. Phone: 402-444-1066.

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