Even as cannabis crusaders push for total legalization of the substance across the US, dissenting voices continue to air their views as well. On Monday, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said, “there is no such thing as medical marijuana.”
Marijuana opposition in Nebraska
Speaking after a legal challenge was mounted against a ballot measure that seeks to legalize the substance in the state, Nebraska Governor Ricketts reiterated his opposition to medical cannabis.
There is no such thing as medical marijuana. This is not something that would be prescribed by a doctor. It’s not going to be distributed through a pharmacy. These are dispensaries that would be in your communities…This is not a benign thing. This is a dangerous thing, Ricketts said at a press conference in Lincoln.
The governor argued that in other states where marijuana has been legalized, people report to work “stoned”. This, he said, posed a greater risk for accidents on the job. He added that exposure to marijuana among children would impact their cognitive development.
The comments come just when the Nebraska Supreme Court is preparing to decide whether citizens can vote on medical marijuana in the state in November. Supporters of the proposal spent several months collecting signatures. According to Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen, the supporters had enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Ballot measure challenge
On Friday, Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner filed a case against the measure. According to an attorney representing Wagner, the measure violates state rules that require ballot measures to focus on a single question. The lawyer argued that the measure poses two different questions – whether residents should have the right to use cannabis for medical purposes, and whether private companies should have the freedom to grow and sell it.
Supporters of the measure referred to the legal challenge as “a last-minute attempt to derail the precious right of the people.” The team is optimistic the measure will reign despite the legal challenge.
Even as he affirmed his opposition to the ballot initiative, Gov. Ricketts was quick to add that the court will make the final decision on whether or not it should proceed to the ballot. The Nebraska Supreme Court is set to hear the medical marijuana issue on Thursday.
These issues arise even as the US House of Representatives is set to conduct a historic vote to federally legalize marijuana later this month.
Statements from leading Democrats indicate that the House is set to vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act around September 21. This would be the strongest step taken by Congress toward federal legalization.
“It’s the first-ever comprehensive marijuana legalization bill to ever be considered for a full House floor vote,” said Queen Adesuyi of Drug Policy Alliance.
According to the latest survey reports, around 66% of Americans support fully legalizing cannabis. Around 80% support medical cannabis.