Gov. Pete Ricketts cracked open the door to medical marijuana Friday, just weeks after appearing in television advertisements denouncing the substance.
The governor’s apparent softening came in response to a medical marijuana bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte. Groene, himself a former opponent, introduced LB1275 on Thursday.
“While I continue to have concerns about marijuana use for any reason, I am open to learning more about this bill,” Ricketts said when asked about the new proposal.
John Kuehn, a former state senator and co-chair of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Nebraska, also expressed a willingness to consider Groene’s proposal.
Both took a different tone than the SAM-sponsored ads that aired last month. They featured Ricketts decrying the dangers of medical marijuana and arguing that the only difference between “medical” and “recreational” marijuana is the terminology.
Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln, the Legislature’s leading proponent of medical marijuana and co-sponsor of a medical marijuana petition drive, said she welcomed former opponents recognizing the benefits of medical marijuana. But she said Groene’s bill would be of no help to Nebraskans.
Wishart said key problems include that LB1275 does not provide for the growing and processing of cannabis in Nebraska, while federal laws prohibit the transportation of cannabis across state lines. [Read more at The Grand Island Independent]