Wondering how to open a dispensary in Nebraska? While cannabis remains completely prohibited in the state, this article provides current news and future prospects and developments that will help individuals interested in starting a cannabis business in the state to be prepared once applications become available.
Cannabis remains completely prohibited in Nebraska. It is one of the few remaining states in the U.S. that lacks a medical marijuana program. Possession of small quantities of cannabis is a civil infraction. Cultivating is also prohibited, and the penalties depend on the overall weight of the plants.
Despite previous setbacks, advocates are continuing their efforts to once again push for legalizing cannabis. For the third time, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana are working to bring the issue of legalizing medical marijuana before state voters. They submitted the ballot language on May 18, 2023, and to avoid repeating previous setbacks, they added two separate components: one to establish a doctor-patient system and while the other aims to regulate the industry. To qualify, they need to collect 200,000 valid signatures before July 5, 2024 and once verified, the question of legalizing medical cannabis will be placed on the general election ballot in November 2024.
In Nebraska, the penalties for marijuana offenses are determined by the amount involved. Possession of 1 ounce or less is an infraction with a maximum fine of $300, a second conviction carries a maximum fine of $500, while third and subsequent possession offenses result in a maximum sentence of 7 days imprisonment with a $500 fine.
The manufacture or sale of any amount is a felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine, with enhanced penalties for selling to minors near schools.
Nebraska does not currently have a medical marijuana program or any other provisions for patients. However, there are ongoing initiatives and efforts aimed at legalizing cannabis within the state.
NMM is working on two ballot petitions in Nebraska.
The Patient Protection Act would allow qualified patients the use of up to five ounces of marijuana for medical reasons, protecting patients and caregivers from legal consequences.
The Medical Cannabis Regulation Act would establish the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commission to be responsible in regulating and providing the registration process for private businesses providing medical cannabis to qualified patients.
Both initiatives may appear on the Nebraska ballot as an initiated state statute on November 5, 2024. If they receive enough signatures and are approved by Nebraska voters, they will become law.
On January 18, 2023, Sen. Terrell McKinney introduced LB634 or the Adopt the Cannabis Control Act and the Cannabis Conviction Clean Slate Act. The bill seeks to legalize recreational cannabis sales for individuals 21 and older while also establishing regulations for the cultivation, sale, and distribution. Public consumption will still be prohibited but possession of up to one ounce will be decriminalized.
On January 5, 2023, Senator Justin Wayne presented LB22, a comprehensive measure aiming to eliminate penalties for possessing and using marijuana and to remove marijuana from the marijuana and controlled substances tax
As mentioned above, the state of Nebraska enforces strict regulations that prohibit both recreational and medical utilization of cannabis, resulting in the absence of any cannabis-related establishments or legislation within its jurisdiction. Unfortunately, there is currently limited information available on this topic. However, we will add any noteworthy updates or developments as they emerge in the future.
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