Although Nebraska’s pro-decriminalization forces decided not to pursue a 2016 ballot initiative, a public defender in Lancaster County has publicly endorsed decriminalizing and regulating marijuana, according to a Sept. 16, 2016, article in the Lincoln Journal Star.
Lancaster County Public Defender Joe Nigro stated his views in a Sept. 15, 2016, forum with Nebraska’s chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
“I’m not advocating the use of marijuana,” Nigro said. “I simply take the position that prohibition has failed, and we shouldn’t treat a health issue in the criminal justice system.”
Nigro spoke to the forum after Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, an outspoken opponent of marijuana.
Nigro also criticized Peterson’s decision to join Oklahoma in suing next-door neighbor Colorado, where marijuana is legal.
“You’re being silly,” Nigro said. “Every lawyer I know thought this lawsuit was the biggest joke they ever heard.”
Earlier in the forum, Peterson said he was concerned about the impact of legalization.
“When you bring free-market forces into the impairment industry, what is the goal? You won’t find any advertisements about flavor, aroma,” Peterson said. “It’s all about potency.”