NOTICE: Nebraska Should Legalize Recreational Marijuana | Opinion

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Why should Governor Pete Ricketts tell you or me that we can’t get high? Short answer, he shouldn’t.

Many states have legalized medical marijuana and a handful have adopted it for recreational purposes, but Nebraska is one of 12 states that have not legalized cannabis in some form.

Last year I wrote my first article for the Daily Nebraskan on the state Supreme Court overturning a voting initiative that would have asked Nebraskans to vote for or against medical marijuana. Recently, the Nebraska Cannabis Association was launched as the state’s first lobby group to support drug legalization and regulation. Consider the effects of current state cannabis policy, why this is wrong, and why legalized recreational use is better than adopting strictly medical marijuana.

It is a fairly well documented and understood fact that the criminalization of marijuana unduly affects black Americans, and blacks in Nebraska in particular, although the drug is used at comparable rates by blacks and whites. That alone should be reason enough to get honest people to think long and hard about their pot positions. As you reflect, let me expand your mind with more information on the subject.

Marijuana may be less dangerous to health than alcohol, but the lack of data makes it difficult to draw concrete conclusions. Although both can be addictive, the risk of addiction to marijuana appears to be lower than that of alcohol. With this in mind, the current state and federal ban on cannabis can be seen broadly comparable to the alcohol ban in the 1920s. Like prohibition, the war on weed transformed countless normal citizens turned into criminals simply because of the substance of their choice.

Although marijuana has proven medical applications, the legalization of strictly medical marijuana can, and in other places, lead to the growth of an industry full of fake doctors dedicated to simply distributing medical weed cards. . Medical marijuana often acts as a soft form of legalization, as it is not possible to legislate for all possible medical uses of the drug. As a result, what is termed a “weed map” should invariably be left to physicians. I believe the bogus cannabis card industry is actually hurting our ability to better understand the medical applications of cannabis.

The recreational marijuana industry is also a lucrative source of tax revenue for many states across the country. Nebraska is missing a potential payout of $ 36 million. Of the six neighboring states of Nebraska, Colorado has fully legalized recreational cannabis – the first state to do so – and South Dakota and Missouri have legalized medical marijuana, although recreational marijuana is making its way through Dakota courts. from South. These revenues could be a massive boon to state finances, but are simply confiscated for the benefit of other states.

Governor Ricketts says that “if you legalize marijuana, you will kill your children.” When asked for a source, a spokesperson for the governor pointed to two studies indicating that there may be an increased risk of suicide, but the results do not seem conclusive. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency itself, no marijuana overdoses have been reported.

Cannabis is, in much of the country, a largely resolved problem. Federal legalization is almost inevitable; it would be better for Nebraska to join the program and not be behind on this issue.

Nick Finan is a junior political science student. Contact him at [email protected]


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