Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts Claims Marijuana Legalization Will 'Kill Your Kids'

Gov. Pete Ricketts issued the warning as lawmakers consider a bill that would legalize medical marijuana as long as it's consumed in oils, pills or tinctures.

Gov. Pete Ricketts

Image via Getty/Mike Theiler/AFP

Gov. Pete Ricketts

Nebraska’s Republican governor went full Reefer Madness when addressing a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

“This is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said during a Wednesday press conference. “If you legalize marijuana, you’re going to kill your kids. That’s what the data shows from around the country … Big pot, big marijuana is a big industry. 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.”

Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE): “If you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your kids.”

— The Recount (@therecount) March 12, 2021

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a fatal marijuana overdose “is unlikely”; However, consuming the THC may result in “extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fast heart rate, delusions or hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting.” Legalization opponents have also categorized weed as a “gateway drug,” that may lead to a potentially deadly addiction or overdose. But, once again, the CDC points to data that conflicts with this long-held claim.

“The majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances,” the agency’s website reads. “More research is needed to understand if marijuana is a ‘gateway drug’ – a drug that is thought to lead to the use of more dangerous drugs (such as cocaine or heroin).”

The Drug Enforcement Administration also states, “No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”

The governor’s comments came as state lawmakers consider Legisilative Bill 474, which would legalize cannabis use for medicinal purposes in Nebraska. The bill, which doesn’t legalize nor decriminalize recreational marijuana, also includes strict rules for consumption. Patients would be allowed to take the substance in tinctures, oils, and pill form, but would be prohibited from smoking it in both public and private spaces. The legislation also doesn’t include any employment protections for those with medical marijuana cards.

Nebraska Sen. Anna Wishart said she introduced LB474 back in January to help improve the lives of Nebraska families. 

“On the journey to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska, I have met so many brave people that inspire me,” she said earlier this year, as reported by KETV7. “Veterans who have lost limbs in war serving our country, cancer survivors who have beaten all odds, people with debilitating pain who refuse to give up, and kids like Colton who suffer from seizures at such a young age and still show up to their life with a smile. All of these Nebraskans deserve the right to access a plant-based medicine that has evolved with humans for over 10,000+ years. None of them should be treated like criminals in our state.”

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 36 US states and the District of Columbia. 

Latest in Life