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Nebraska cannabis laws

Nebraska cannabis laws

Table of contents

  • Medical: No
  • Recreational: No
  • Reciprocity: N/A

Medical and adult-use marijuana are illegal in Nebraska, though a first-time arrest for possession of one ounce or less is decriminalized to a civil infraction. There have been multiple attempts to create a medical and recreational marijuana program, all of which have failed. The next attempt to get medical marijuana on the ballot will likely be in 2024. 

In 2021, two bills were introduced to the Nebraska state government that would have legalized the use, possession, and sale of the cannabis plant. Both bills failed to gain traction and have been indefinitely postponed. 

Nebraska’s stance on cannabis 

Despite a push from state residents to legalize medical cannabis, the state government and in particular Governor Pete Ricketts continue to push anti-cannabis messaging, claiming that there is not enough scientific evidence from the FDA to prove the benefits of cannabis. Governor Ricketts, who was elected in 2015 and remains in office in 2022, pushes prohibitionist messaging claiming cannabis is dangerous because it “impairs critical cognitive functions” and alters parts of the brain that “control emotion and motivation” (despite studies proving that cannabis users are more empathetic and active than their non-consuming counterparts.) 

After Colorado legalized cannabis, Nebraska attempted to take the state to federal court to strike down their legalization, on the basis that it increased the amount of cannabis coming into the state. Nebraska was joined by the state of Oklahoma in filing, but the Supreme Court declined to take the case

Industrial hemp was grown in Nebraska as far back as the 1880s but cultivation stopped when the state prohibited the plant in 1927. The state still has a large population of ditch weed or feral weed throughout the state. 

Penalties for cannabis in Nebraska 

Though cannabis remains illegal in all forms in Nebraska, the state decriminalized possession for first-time offenders to a civil infraction in 1979, which includes a fine of $300 and potential drug counseling. 

Possession of less than one ounce is a misdemeanor, for which the jail time ranges depending on the offender and number of previous offenses. Possession of more than one pound, cultivation, and selling any amount of cannabis is a felony. Possessing any amount of concentrates is also a felony. Nebraska is one of the few states that punishes possession of paraphernalia with a $100 fine. 

Medical cannabis in Nebraska 

Nebraska does not have a medical marijuana program. There have been multiple attempts since 2015 by state residents to get a medical program on the ballot to let the voters decide, but all have been struck down. 

  • In 2020 the state Supreme Court struck down a constitutional ballot measure for medical cannabis on the basis that it covered more than one topic. 
  • In 2021, a medical marijuana bill died in the state legislature after it failed to gain enough votes to overcome a filibuster. 
  • In 2022, the initiative to add a medical marijuana program to the November ballot failed after it came up 10,000 signatures short of the necessary amount. Advocates attempted to lower the number of signatures required via the court but failed to sway the judges, who ruled in favor of the state. 

The next attempt to include medical marijuana on the election ballot will take place in 2024, when activists are hoping that the presidential election will drive enough voter turnout to pass. 

CBD regulations

CBD and CBD products are legal in Nebraska and can be found at hemp stores throughout the state. You need a specific cultivation license to grow hemp and a different license to process hemp, but not to sell it. 

Can you grow your own weed?

No, cultivation of cannabis is not legal in Nebraska. 

Visiting Nebraska – can you buy or bring marijuana products?

There is no legal sale of cannabis products in Nebraska. The only way to obtain cannabis is through the black market, where plant enthusiasts have been purchasing flower for decades. Purchase off the black market at your own risk; not only is it illegal, but these products are untested and unregulated. 

You cannot bring cannabis products into Nebraska, and you should not cross state lines with cannabis as this violates federal law.

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