Attorney General cautions Nebraska against legalizing medical marijuana

January 21, 2019

Attorney General Doug Peterson opposes plans to legalized medical marijuana in Nebraska.

LINCOLN - Peterson accuses the marijuana industry of pushing to legalize medical marijuana.

“The game plan is, you start with medical marijuana, you get expectations down and then you come in with recreational marijuana,” Peterson tells Nebraska Radio Network during an interview in his office.

The marijuana industry stands to make billions, according to Peterson, who claims the industry’s objective is to make citizens think it’s not a big deal.

Peterson says legislators and Nebraskans need to ask two questions: who is helped and who is harmed? He says the industry will be helped and Nebraska citizens will be harmed.

Peterson says he would assume that with the word ‘medical’ attached, medical professionals would be behind it. He insists that’s not the case.

“I frankly have a hard time even using the word medical marijuana, because the medical science is not supporting that,” according to Peterson.

Peterson says more evidence needs to be accumulated about the effects of marijuana beyond the anecdotal stories often told about someone getting pain relief from smoking marijuana. He says medical research is lacking in this debate. Peterson says the study now underway raises serious questions about marijuana’s impact on mental health, including impairment to the brain.

Peterson suggests legislators keep an eye on how legalization of recreational marijuana pans out in Colorado.

“I’ve always said to them, senator, please watch Colorado, at least five to 10 years,” Peterson says. “That’s a great experimental lab that’s going on in Colorado with regards to marijuana and public policy.”

Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln has filed LB 110, which would legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska. She and Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln have formed Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, which would launch an initiative petition drive to place the issue on the 2020 ballot if state lawmakers fail to pass a bill this session.

Efforts to legalize medical marijuana in the past have failed in the Unicameral.

At present, 33 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Colorado legalized marijuana use; both medical and recreational use. Iowa has a highly-regulated medical marijuana law. Missouri voters approved medical marijuana in November.