When people hear the term medical marijuana user, they often conjure up images of stoned smokers lazily wasting away the day after feigning injuries or anxiety.
But the reality is something far different.
At a recent hearing for State Sen. Anna Wishart’s bill to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska, testimony came from an Iraq war veteran, a former Nebraska soccer player, a woman who suffers from chronic and debilitating pain and several others – all of whom say cannabis eased their symptoms and improved their lives.
Tim Locklear, an Iraq war veteran and business owner from Omaha, said it best after describing how marijuana calmed him down and eased his irritation, allowing him to spend more time with his wife and six children: "This is what cannabis users look like," he said while raising his arms.
Medical cannabis, though derived from the marijuana plant, isn’t the drug sought by recreational pot smokers. Legalizing it isn’t going to create a generation of potheads as naysayers often suggest. It’s another new tool for doctors and patients to use to treat illnesses and pain.
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Wishart’s bill addresses many of the concerns voiced by medical marijuana opponents, including concerns about possible drug abuse. It lays out how the cannabis would be produced and dispensed and calls for a patient registry. The bill limits medical cannabis to liquid, pill, topical cream, lotion or suppository forms – users could not smoke it, something allowed in other states.
Doctors would only be able to prescribe medical cannabis for certain diseases or conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, ALS, Crohn’s disease and seizure disorders.
Lia McDowell-Post, who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, told the legislative committee that medical cannabis helped her more than a combination of opioids, benzodiazepines and sedatives that left her in a daze.
"I believe cannabis helped save my life," she said. "I know it definitely improved the quality of it."
Our veterans and our neighbors suffering deserve to have this medical option legalized in Nebraska.
-- Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star