Nebraska Governor Infected Reefer Madness

The days of Reefer Madness are waning as legalization is supported by a supermajority of all voters, more than a dozen states have now legalized cannabis after nearly all have passed medical legislation, and there is majority support to end federal prohibition in United States House of Representatives and potentially the Senate. The hyperbolic claims of the evils of marijuana, rooted in racism and dripping with harmful propaganda over the decades, have met science and common sense and the truth has been winning a lot lately, especially at the ballot box when the voters are provided an opportunity to have their say. Even some of the biggest former promoters of Reefer Madness nonsense over the past couple of decades have tried to soften their rhetoric a bit, claiming to support decriminalization (although that usually includes forced rehab), but just opposing commercialization. Unfortunately, those used to power don’t give up easily and Reefer Madness has still infected too many, including the governor of Nebraska as the USA Today reported:

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has launched an aggressive campaign against the legalization of medical marijuana in his state, going as far as to warn residents that legalizing the drug would kill their children, even though it has never been linked to a fatal overdose. 

“This is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids,” Ricketts told reporters on Wednesday. “If you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your kids. That’s what the data shows from around the country.” 

The Republican governor made the statement as the state legislature is considering a bill to legalize the use of cannabis if recommended by a health care practitioner. The legislation restricts the form of consumption to oils, pills or tinctures, and prohibits marijuana smoking, even in the patient’s home. 

The notion that kids will die because Nebraskan grandparents will be able to treat their glaucoma and chronic pain with cannabis is obviously ridiculous, but it points to a huge problem facing too many voters for far too long: those in power who are completely out of touch. Given a fair vote, medicinal cannabis would win huge on the Nebraska ballot and legalizing for all adults would likely win majority support as well. Unfortunately, Reefer Madness is still alive and well and the infection has reached the highest levels of government in a handful of states such as Nebraska, Idaho, and South Dakota.

Ironically, the Reefer Madness-inspired “the sky is falling” rhetoric currently employed by Nebraska’s governor was once used about decriminalization laws, the type of decrim policies that Nebraska passed back in 1978. Just as those Reefer Madness Chicken Littles were wrong about the states that passed decriminalization in the ’70s, Governor Ricketts is wrong today. State by state, freedom and common sense are on the march, but Reefer Madness has caused some to remain blind to the truth.

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