LINCOLN, Neb. - Gov. Pete Ricketts doubled down on his opposition to medical marijuana in Nebraska on Monday after a legal challenge was mounted against a ballot measure seeking to legalize that in the state.
“There is no such thing as medical marijuana,” Ricketts said during a press conference. “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.”
Ricketts argued that in other states where it has been legalized, people show up to work “stoned” and are at greater risk for accidents on the job. He also argued that the cognitive development of children is impacted when they have access to marijuana.
"This is not a benign thing. This is a dangerous thing," Ricketts said.
The comments come as the Nebraska Supreme Court is set to decide whether or not to let voters decide on medical marijuana in the state this November.
Supporters of the measure had been collecting signatures for months, and Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen said they had enough to qualify the measure for the ballot.
But Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner filed a challenge against the measure on Friday. An attorney representing Wagner said it violates state rules requiring ballot measures to focus on a single question. He argued the measure poses two separate questions: whether residents should have the right to use marijuana for medical purposes, and whether private companies should be allowed to grow and sell it.
Supporters of the measure called the legal challenge “a last-minute attempt to derail the precious right of the people.” They are confident the measure will survive the legal challenge.
While Ricketts is opposed to the ballot initiative, he said the court will ultimately make the final decision on whether or not it should go before voters. The Nebraska Supreme Court hearing on the medical marijuana ballot issue is set for Thursday.
This story was first reported by KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska.