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The Legal Status of Cannabis in Nebraska

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Nebraska is another of the remaining 13 states where cannabis remains illegal for both recreational and medical use. As a matter of fact, it was one of the states that moved to the Supreme Court against neighboring Colorado for legalizing recreational cannabis citing an 11 percent increase in marijuana a related arrests and costs of enforcing the law against marijuana. This plea was however unsuccessful.

The first industrial hemp crop in Nebraska was grown 1887 in Fremont by people from Champaign, Illinois according to the USDA.  Nebraska was among the states that prohibited cannabis in the early 20th century, specifically, 1927. In 1969, it eased the penalties for marijuana possession limiting the penalty to no more than a 7 day jail term for first-time possession. Marijuana was later decriminalized for first-time offenders to a civil infraction in between 1978 and 1979.

The Law enforcement of different counties in Nebraska respond differently marijuana crimes, with some favoring strict enforcement and others deemphasizing strict enforcement of minor offenses.

In a nutshell, possession of cannabis is illegal in Nebraska. 

It is an infraction to possess one ounce, which can be punished by a fine of $300, together with the probability of the judge ordering completion of a drug education course.

Possessing as a second offense is a misdemeanor which imposes a fine of $500 on the higher side. The third and any subsequent convictions for the possession of 1 oz. or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum seven day sentence and a $500 maximum fine.

In 2015, the “Cannabis Compassion and Care Act,” LB643 was proposed by the unicameral state legislature. This legislation would have permitted certain patients who had prescriptions to use cannabis for their conditions in pill or in liquid form (with the exception of smoked leaf form). Patients’ eligibility would be limited to certain qualifying conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and hepatitis C. This Bill has a tumultuous time and eventually encountered “stiff opposition” and did not go through.

In 2020, a medical marijuana ballot measure got invalidated by the Nebraska Supreme Court for having more than one question contained in it. Nebraska is known for having feral hemp plants that are low in psychoactive THC. These are generally referred to as “ditch weed” (or more in rare cases “Nebraska Nonsense”).  12.4 million Marijuana plants were eradicated annually in Nebraska according to a 1987 study. A hemp researcher known as David West recommends that farmers should store the seed of feral hemp even before it is legalized so that they can be able to build an indigenous cannabis stock from a landrace strain.

Cultivation of marijuana is not allowed in the state of Nebraska for any use and penalties are based on the total weight of the cannabis plant found. There is still no medical marijuana program neither are there other allowances for medical patients in Nebraska.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.