The Republican governor of Nebraska is partnering with a chapter of the nation’s main marijuana prohibitionist group to run advertisements urging residents to oppose hashish reform within the state.
Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) was featured in a 30-second advert that was paid for by SAM Nebraska, an affiliate of Sensible Approaches to Marijuana, and which started airing on native TV stations final week. He argues that marijuana doesn’t have medical worth and that the business is utilizing the problem as a Malicious program to finally get adult-use legalization enacted.
This comes as pro-legalization advocates step up their reform push by circulating a pair of medical hashish reform initiatives that they hope to put before voters on the 2022 ballot. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has till July to gather 87,000 legitimate signatures to qualify every of their complementary measures.
Ricketts apparently desires to get forward of the problem.
“The one distinction between medical marijuana and leisure marijuana is phrase selection,” the governor mentioned within the new ad. “Medical doctors can’t prescribe it and pharmacists can’t present it as a result of it’s not drugs.”
“In the present day the marijuana business has set its sights on Nebraska. And the actual aim is the legalization of leisure marijuana throughout the state,” he mentioned. “We’ve seen what occurs when progressive politics trump science and customary sense. That may’t occur. It’s as much as us to guard our children and defend our communities. Large Marijuana’s means is the unsuitable means for Nebraska.”
Whereas the advert ignores the political actuality that there’s robust bipartisan assist for medical hashish, the governor’s speaking factors are not less than extra tempered than his remarks in Might, when he mentioned marijuana “is a harmful drug that can impression our children” and “in case you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your children.”
State Sen. Adam Morfeld (D), a cochair of the pro-reform group Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, blasted Ricketts for “working $500,000 in anti medical marijuana advertisements throughout the state,” tweeting that he supposes the governor is taking steps to make the 2022 election “be a referendum on marijuana.”
Fast google search outcomes on Pete: pic.twitter.com/MCM5HN20vr
— State Senator Adam Morfeld (@Adam_Morfeld) December 5, 2021
Morfeld informed Marijuana Second that “no amount of cash will change the truth that over 70 p.c of Nebraskans from throughout the political spectrum assist the legalization of medical marijuana.”
I suppose he’s establishing the 2022 Common Election goes to be a referendum on marijuana.
— State Senator Adam Morfeld (@Adam_Morfeld) December 5, 2021
Sen. Anna Wishart (D), who can be cochair of the group, mentioned in a press release that there’s “no quantity of destructive promoting or darkish cash spent in opposition to our marketing campaign that outweighs the grassroots assist of this subject from Nebraskans throughout our state who come from all walks of life and each political celebration.”
“These of you who care about this subject, preserve your chins up; we won’t cease our efforts till we’ve got a protected, compassionate and customary sense medical hashish system in our state,” she mentioned. “Now let’s go gather some signatures!”
SAM Govt Vice President Luke Niforatos confirmed to Marijuana Second that the group’s Nebraska affiliate is spending within the six figures for the advert marketing campaign, which additionally options two separate spots that includes medical and legislation enforcement professionals elevating issues about hashish.
A political consulting firm, making advert buys and the fcc recordsdata them of their “Political Recordsdata”. However so long as you verify the field on a NAB type, it is nananabooboo… does not depend. pic.twitter.com/eAG2AwuGv2
— TimmyPowershell (@TimmySQL) December 5, 2021
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, which is behind the 2 reform poll initiatives, despatched an e mail blast to supporters in regards to the new opposition advertisements.
“If these advertisements make you indignant, they need to. The content material is dishonest and disrespectful to the households and grassroots affected person advocates who’re main this motion for compassionate hashish legal guidelines,” they wrote. “It’s clear that the anti-cannabis extremists—many from teams that exist exterior of Nebraska—will cease at nothing to stop us from making a system of protected, authorized entry to medical hashish.
The 2022 poll effort isn’t the primary time that Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has pushed for reform regardless of the governor’s opposition.
Activists collected sufficient signatures to qualify a medical marijuana legalization measure for the 2020 poll, however the state Supreme Court invalidated it, discovering that the proposal violated the single-subject rule for citizen initiatives.
That’s why the marketing campaign intentionally selected to take a bifurcated method this time round, with the complementary proposals to the reform to keep away from such a authorized problem.
One of many statutory initiatives would set up authorized protections for sufferers and medical doctors round hashish, whereas the opposite would enable non-public firms to supply and promote medical marijuana merchandise.
Lawmakers tried to advance medical hashish reform legislatively this 12 months, however whereas the unicameral legislature debated a invoice to legalize medical marijuana in Might, it failed to advance past a filibuster as a result of the physique didn’t have sufficient votes to beat it.
Morfeld and Wishart introduced final December that they’d additionally work to place the query of legalizing marijuana for adult use before voters in 2022. However for now their focus seems to be on the medical hashish effort.
For what it’s value, Nebraska’s legal professional normal argued in an opinion in 2019 that efforts to legalize medical marijuana legislatively within the state would be preempted by federal law and “could be, due to this fact, unconstitutional.”
Picture courtesy of Philip Steffan.