In partnership with The Fresh Toast
A voter-approved initiative to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska will appear on the November ballot, but marijuana shouldn't even be classified as medicine, according to Governor Pete Ricketts. The comments represent fierce opposition emerging in Nebraska to legalization.
"There is no such thing as medical marijuana," Ricketts said at a press conference Monday. “This is not something a doctor would prescribe. It is not sold through a pharmacy. These are pharmacies in your communities. "
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Ricketts has spoken out against medical cannabis on several occasions, claiming that in legalized states, people "show up to work" stoned and cause a greater number of accidents.
"This is not a benign thing, this is a dangerous thing," he added.
Research does not support these statements. Several studies have shown that access to medical marijuana has been linked to a decrease in fatal accidents at work. Researchers suggest that this happens because workers are replacing cannabis with more dangerous drugs like alcohol and opioids.
Ricketts is not alone in the fight against medical cannabis in Nebraska. Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner on Friday filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Bob Evnen's ruling that attorneys had collected enough official signatures to qualify the legalization measure for the upcoming election. Nebraska law requires 122,275 signatures to register an electoral initiative.
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However, Wagner argues that the move violates a Nebraska law that such measures can only ask voters one question. The initiative instead raises two separate questions for voters: 1) should nationals have access to and use of medical marijuana, and 2) private companies should grow and sell cannabis when they do.
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Nebraska State Senator Adam Morfeld, who had tried for years to legalize medical cannabis through lawmakers, recalled an earlier question he had with Wagner about the plant.
"During a judicial committee hearing where he testified against medical marijuana for claiming it was" dangerous, "I asked Sheriff Wagner how many people had died from drug and alcohol overdoses in his career." Morfeld tweeted. “He said too many to count. How many from marijuana? Zero."
No date has been set for the official hearing. However, a decision must be made by September 11th. The actions taken on the last day can be confirmed for voting.