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Nebraska Governor Partners With Prohibitionist Group On Ad Opposing Medical Marijuana

January 4, 2022

In opposition to cannabis reform, the Nebraskan Republican governor is partnering with a chapter of the nation’s leading marijuana prohibitionist group to run ads urging residents to support the opposition stance against cannabis reform in the state.

His argument is centered around the idea that marijuana is without medical value, and the industry is only subtly advocating adult-use legalization. Governor Pete Ricketts advanced his cause while featuring in a 30-second ad that began airing on local TV stations last week paid for by SAM Nebraska, an affiliate of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

The governor has intensified his efforts following the circulation of a pair of medical cannabis reform initiatives by pro-legalization advocates, which they hope to put before voters on the 2022 ballot. The pro-legalization advocates, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, are pushing to garner no less than 87,000 valid signatures by July to qualify each of their complementary measures.

Rickett, however, insists that marijuana is marijuana regardless of what it is called (medical or recreational). In the new ad, he says, “doctors can’t prescribe it, and pharmacists can’t provide it because it’s not medicine.”

Decrying efforts by pro-legalization advocates to legalize recreational marijuana in Nebraska, he calls on residents to join the fight to protect kids and defend communities in the state from what he terms “Big Marijuana way, the wrong way for Nebraska.” The governor adds that his stance is in defense of science and common sense over progressive politics.
While he has considerably tempered down his talking points given his remarks in May where he claimed that marijuana “is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids” and “if you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your kids,” the reality is that there’s strong bipartisan support for medical cannabis and the ad chooses to ignore this.
Reacting to this, State Sen. Adam Morfeld (D), a co-chair of the pro-reform group Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, criticized the governor for investing some uncalled-for $500,000 in anti-medical marijuana ads across the state. In his tweet, he speculates that the governor is tilting towards making the 2022 election “a referendum on marijuana.”
Marijuana Moment gathered from the co-chair that the over 70 percent of Nebraskans from across the political spectrum who support the legalization of medical marijuana will not be swayed by any amount of money.

Another co-chair, Sen. Anna Wishart (D) who referred to the governor’s efforts as negative advertising said in a statement that the grassroots support of the issue cut across all walks of life and every political party in the state, and no amount of dark money spent in opposition to the pro-legalization campaigns could outweigh that support.