Article by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and author or How Do CBD Topicals Work In Our Body?
Frankly, I did not see this one coming. The good people of Nebraska, even during the pandemic, went to the great trouble to get a medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot, over the usual objections from the usual suspects.
The initiative was necessary because Nebraska’s uniquely unicameral legislature simply refused to consider it, despite overwhelming public support. There is nothing new about this problem. The decriminalization of medical marijuana has happened only because many states, notably starting in California, have laws allowing citizens to get initiatives on the ballot.
The Founders of the Republic distrusted democracy because they feared that the majority would deprive minorities (like rich white people like them) of their Lives, Liberty and Property. However, from the beginning in the Declaration of Independence they wrote that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Clearly, someone neglected to tell the Lords of Nebraska. After the initiative qualified for the November ballot, Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner sued to get it disqualified because the Nebraska Constitution requires that “Initiative measures shall contain only one subject.” And the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the initiative could not be on the November ballot, despite the fact that the Nebraska Secretary of State had approved it.
To make matters even more outrageous, Sheriff Wagner says he doesn’t know who funded his lawsuit.
I am certainly not an expert on the Nebraska Constitution, so I have no opinion on whether the Court ruled correctly, but it is obvious that the law enforcement establishment that opposed the initiative does not consent to be restrained by the “Consent of the Governed.”
Like Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Sheriff Wagner says that “marijuana is not medicine” and like Governor Ricketts, he has no medical training.
But medical marijuana initiatives are not based on medical opinion, but on the judgment of the people that the criminal laws should not be used against people who disagree with Governors and sheriffs. We no longer criminalize adultery, fornication, alcohol, etc. These are not medical or moral judgments, but determinations about personal freedom and the limits of the state’s power.
The Presidential election this year has been described as a vital test of America’s democracy, but judging by the problems in America’s heartland, the rot starts at the roots. The arrogant defiance of the Consent of the Governed is a threat to everyone at every level