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Gov. Ricketts stresses strong opposition towards marijuana legalization

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Posted at 5:51 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 18:56:34-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts released his weekly column on Monday titled "An Honest Look at Marijuana," stressing his strong opposition towards legalization.

Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in 11 states, and Gov. Ricketts doesn't intend to ever follow suit in Nebraska.

"Nebraskans shouldn’t be dazed and confused by these well-funded sales tactics. Marijuana is an illegal drug according to federal law. It’s illegal because medical experts have determined, on the basis of solid scientific evidence, that the drug is harmful. It’s also illegal because public officials have recognized the social costs and dangers of marijuana use," said Gov. Ricketts in the column.

The governor cites data from states that have legalized marijuana, such as Colorado and Oregon, saying they have experienced spikes in car accidents due to "drugged drivers."

Gov. Ricketts adds that studies show marijuana use causes long-term damage to cognitive abilities and increases depression and suicidal behaviors in young adults.

"The data is reflected in real life stories. Levi Pongi, age 19, died after consuming a marijuana cookie and jumping off a balcony. Marc Bullard, age 23, committed suicide after he began using a concentrated form of marijuana. He had no previous history of depression. These stories reflect data from Colorado showing that the number of youth suicides with marijuana present has tripled in 10 years," said Gov. Ricketts.

He touches on the danger of marijuana's potency, noting that the increased power of the plant heightens "addictiveness," going on to mention that the nation's top medical professional has said there's no such thing as "medical marijuana."

"As Governor, I have a duty to promote public safety. I want Nebraskans to be informed of the dangers of marijuana and to know where I stand on the issue. I firmly oppose legislative legalization and will veto any legislation that attempts to make marijuana use lawful in the Cornhusker State," said Gov. Ricketts.

Read the full column here.