News, Politics, Research

Nebraska’s Governor Blasts Medical Cannabis With His Antiquated Views

September 21, 2020 10:40 am ET
Nebraska’s Governor Blasts Medical Cannabis With His Antiquated Views

Note: Veriheal does not support or endorse any political candidate or their policies. We merely report on the facts as they are presented and their implications in regards to cannabis.


Though the country has been slow to embrace the benefits offered by cannabis, in recent years we have seen an acceleration in the acceptance of the substance’s legality. Some form of medical cannabis is currently legal in 39 of the 50 states, and in the District of Columbia as well. Politicians have also begun to recognize the benefits of medical cannabis and to voice their support for its legalization and use. Though recreational cannabis isn’t yet legal in Pennsylvania, the state’s Governor Tom Wolf has voiced his support for legalization, citing the benefits it would have for Pennsylvania’s economy. And Governor Wolf is far from alone. Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia recently pushed for and succeeded in passing decriminalization in his state—a significant move, as Virginia is one of the few states where medical cannabis is not fully legal (only CBD oil has been legalized). And in Kansas, where cannabis in all forms remains fully illegal, Governor Laura Kelly has advocated for change, arguing for the need for legalization of medical cannabis in her state. These three forward-thinking governors, along with many others, have seen the potential cannabis offers and are doing their part to move their states forward in the best interest of their citizens. But not every governor in the United States can be said to be acting as wisely. Take Nebraska’s governor for instance. 

Nebraska’s Governor Weighs In

Governor Pete Ricketts (R) has his own views about medical cannabis, and he hasn’t been shy about sharing them.

“There is no such thing as medical marijuana,” Ricketts posited during a press conference held in Lincoln. “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.”

He also believes that the legalization of medical cannabis would carry with it unpleasant repercussions. He asserts that in places where medical cannabis has been legalized, people increasingly come to work high, resulting in accidents in the workplace. 

Is Governor Ricketts Right?

Of course, this is a strange view, since the reason for the circuitous method by which cannabis patients must attain the substance has to do with the law itself, and not with any inherent properties of cannabis. Currently, in the US, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance, meaning that it is not recognized to have any medicinal value. But that classification is widely recognized as erroneous and out of date, and politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), have expressed interest in reclassifying it.

In the meantime, doctors, many of whom do support the use of medical cannabis, have found the workaround of recommending rather than prescribing the substance, something they are legally permitted to do. With a doctor’s recommendation, a patient may obtain a medical cannabis card and may then visit a local medical dispensary—in essence, a cannabis pharmacy.

Splitting hairs over how medical cannabis is dispensed to patients is not the only way in which Governor Ricketts is wrong. He’s also mistaken to suggest that legalizing medical cannabis leads to workplace accidents. In fact, a 2018 study showed a significant decrease in fatal workplace injuries in states where medical cannabis had been legalized.

For the sake of Nebraskans whose lives stand to be improved by the use of medical cannabis, we hope that Governor Ricketts sees reason. In the meantime, Nebraska’s Supreme Court is voting on the issue of whether or not the question of medical cannabis legalization should be put before the voters. We wish Nebraska good luck in its journey toward legalization.

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Nat says:

Nebraska…enough said

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