While Nebraska state lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize recreational cannabis use, Republican Governor Pete Ricketts is using horrific strategies in his campaign against the measure. During a public appearance on Wednesday, Ricketts said cannabis will “kill your children,” although cannabis has never been credibly linked to a fatal overdose.
“This is a dangerous drug that affects our children. If you legalize marijuana, you will kill your children, ”Ricketts said. “This is shown by the data across the country. Don’t legalize marijuana in the state of Nebraska. “
To back up his ridiculous claim, Ricketts cited the federal government’s inclusion of marijuana in Appendix 1 of the Controlled Substances Act along with heroin, a designation intended only to apply to drugs that are not currently accepted for medical use and that have high levels Have a tendency to be addictive. Ricketts added that medical marijuana legalization is a “dangerous” attempt to bypass the normal drug approval process.
“Big Pot, Big Marijuana is a big industry,” Ricketts said. “This is a big industry that is trying not to be regulated in order to bypass the regulatory process. And that will put people at risk: if you circumvent regulations that are geared towards the health and safety of our society. “
Medical marijuana bill pending
Ricketts spoke out with former University of Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne and other state and local leaders against a Senator Anna Wishart bill that would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis. At a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Wishart noted that the measure resembles a bill that was introduced last year but made no progress in state assembly.
“But much has changed in the hearts and minds of countless Nebraskans who have been affected by these words,” Wishart said.
Rickett’s statements were quickly reprimanded by cannabis activists, who compared them to the anti-marijuana film Reefer Madness. Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of the Marijuana Law (NORML), said Ricketts’ views were unfounded.
“Governor Ricketts’ comments are so whimsical that they border on pure parody. When I saw them, I had to check my calendar to make sure it was still 2021, not 1950, ”Altieri said. “His claims are not based on the science or the real world experience of the over a dozen states that have already legalized marijuana for adults. They only seem to exist in his troubled imagination.”
State Senator Adam Morfeld, a Democrat who is one of eleven Senators who approved Wishart’s bill, responded to Ricketts’ comments in a tweet, saying, “It’s really hard to have a reasonable conversation with someone like this.”
Wishart said medical marijuana advocates will lead a simple one-sentence voter initiative to legalize the medical use of cannabis if their bill is unsuccessful in legislature this year. A more complex measure, approved by voters in the 2020 election, was later overturned by the Nebraska Supreme Court on the grounds that it did not meet the requirements that limit initiatives to one issue.