Nebraska governor claims legalizing medical marijuana will ‘kill your children’

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.

  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said legalizing medical marijuana would lead to kids dying.
  • Ricketts was citing a study that connected more frequent marijuana use among kids who die by suicide and states that already have legalized marijuana.
  • His remarks come as Nebraska’s state legislature weighs a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The governor of Nebraska pushed back on the state’s consideration of legalizing medical marijuana, claiming it would lead to the death of their kids.

“This is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said during a news briefing Wednesday. “If you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your kids. That’s what the data shows from around the country.”

Asked to elaborate on the data by USA TODAY, a spokesperson for Ricketts pointed to two studies that concluded teens who died by suicide in multiple states that had legalized marijuana used it more frequently.

His remarks come as Nebraska’s state legislature weighs a bill that would make legal medical marijuana that’s recommended by a practicing physician. The idea is that physicians would have control over their patients’ marijuana consumption, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Though Ricketts’ linked his claim to recreational marijuana, the bill being weighed would allow residents to use and consume medical marijuana in the form of pills or oils. Smoking marijuana would not be legalized upon this bill’s passing.

Marijuana is federally designated as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use.” However, “THC itself has proven medical benefits in particular formulations,” according to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. In terms of recreational usage, experts and agencies like the Centers for Disease Control say a “fatal overdose is unlikely.”

Ricketts’ office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

“Big pot, big marijuana is a big industry,” he continued. “This a big industry that is trying not to be regulated, to go around the regulatory process. And that’s going to put people at risk: when you go around regulations that are designed for the health and safety of our society.”

Advocates in favor of the bill’s passing include its sponsor, Lincoln, Nebraska, Sen. Anna Wishart, who on Wednesday delivered an impassioned argument in support, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

“This bill is not going to fail because of a lack of compromise,” Wishart said before the state’s judiciary committee. “If this bill fails to pass, it is because of political pressure from a few who wield their power to stamp out the will of the people. The people will not be silenced.”

If the bill doesn’t pass, Wishart, a Democrat, said she expects activists to propose a ballot initiative that allows Nebraskans to vote. This, in turn, would give physicians less control over marijuana consumption and make it more difficult to regulate.

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GOP Sen. Ben Sasse says politics shouldn’t be about the ‘weird worship of one dude,’ after rebuke for opposing Trump

sasse turmp statue
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and a statue of Former President Donald Trump is pictured at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, on February 26, 2021.

  • Sasse faced a backlash from the Nebraska state party following his vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial.
  • He is one of a group of five GOP senators who’ve taken a stand against Trump in the wake of the Capitol riot. 
  • Trump retains the loyalty of most grassroots Republicans and will address the CPAC conference Sunday. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has said that politics is about more than “the weird worship of one dude” in response to a reprimand from the state Republican Party for his vote to convict Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. 

On Saturday, the central committee of Nebraska’s Republican Party said that Sasse had been “rebuked” over his impeachment trial vote. It stopped short of formally censuring him, reported the Omaha World Herald. 

In a statement to CNN following the rebuke, Sasse retorted that that “Most Nebraskans don’t think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude.”

The Nebraska GOP’s vote had been delayed by bad weather and came several weeks after Trump’s acquittal in his second impeachment trial.

In a statement reported by the Herald, the central committee expressed its “deep disappointment and sadness with respect to the service of Senator Ben Sasse and calls for an immediate readjustment whereby he represents the people of Nebraska to Washington and not Washington to the people of Nebraska.”

Sasse is the latest Republican to face a backlash from their state party following their vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial. 

Seven GOP senators and all Democratic senators voted to convict Trump after the trial, but the 53-47 vote result wasn’t enough to meet the two-thirds majority required.

State GOP parties censured Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr after their conviction vote. 

Trump statue CPAC 2021
People take a picture with former President Donald Trump’s statue on display at the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 27, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them.

Despite his role in whipping up supporters ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot that led to his second impeachment, Trump retains millions of grassroots GOP supporters’ loyalty.

His status as the most powerful figure in the party has been underscored by his Conservative Political Action Conference’s role over the past few days, where he will deliver the keynote speech on Sunday. 

A gold statue of the former president is on display in the Florida venue’s lobby, where the gathering of the most influential US conservatives is being held. 

Sasse is one of a group of five GOP senators who’ve taken a stand against Trump in the wake of the Capitol riot. 

He was re-elected to office in November, meaning he has a six-year term to serve. 

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Nebraska Gov. Ricketts says he ‘doesn’t expect’ undocumented workers in meatpacking plants will be part of state’s vaccination plans

In this Friday, May 1, 2020, photo, a worker leaves the Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa. The coronavirus is devastating the nation’s meatpacking communities - places like Waterloo and Sioux City in Iowa, Grand Island, Neb., and Worthington, Minn. Within weeks, the outbreaks around slaughterhouses have turned into full-scale disasters. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
In this Friday, May 1, 2020, photo, a worker leaves the Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa. The coronavirus is devastating the nation’s meatpacking communities – places like Waterloo and Sioux City in Iowa, Grand Island, Neb., and Worthington, Minn. Within weeks, the outbreaks around slaughterhouses have turned into full-scale disasters. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

At a press conference on Monday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signaled that undocumented workers in Nebraska’s meatpacking facilities would not be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

While holding the conference, Ricketts responded to a question about whether undocumented people could be vaccinated when the vaccine is made available to meatpacking workers, who are among Nebraska’s initial priority groups.

Referring to undocumented workers as “illegal immigrants,” Ricketts said, “You’re supposed to be a legal resident of this country to be working in the plants,” adding, “So I do not expect that illegal immigrants will be part of that vaccine program.”

 

 

Nebraska holds the nation’s largest meatpacking hub, and according to the Migration Policy Institute, some 66% of its meatpacking workers are immigrants, while at least 14% of the workers are undocumented. 

Since March, meatpacking facilities have at times become hotbeds for COVID-19 transmission, with workers standing in close proximity for hours and working indoors in dangerous conditions. Last month, Tyson Foods fired seven plant managers after an internal investigation confirmed that the managers bet on how many workers would become infected with COVID-19.

According to the Food and Environment Reporting Network, at least 52,157 meatpacking workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 266 have died. 

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting clocked Nebraska as having the highest number of COVID-19 cases originating from meatpacking plants, with at least 5,267 workers contracting COVID-19.

Using news reports, company press releases, state and federal data, MCIR also registered that 22 meatpacking workers have died from COVID-19 in Nebraska, and there have been outbreaks at 23 different facilities in the state.

Nebraska’s vaccination program is still in Phase 1A, with more than 36,000 doses administered to frontline and healthcare workers, and Phase 1B is set to begin later this month. 

Gov. Ricketts’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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