Archive for the ‘nebraska’ category

Maryland Governor Suffering From Reefer Madness

February 21st, 2014

Gov. Martin O’Malley

Gov. Martin O’Malley has stated repeatedly that he opposes decriminalizing marijuana, a sensible measure already adopted by 16 other states, including red states like Nebraska and Mississippi. Gov. O’Malley does not support measures being considered in the legislature that would remove criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. One such bill passed the Senate in a bipartisan vote last year, but the House never took it up.

Gov. O’Malley needs to hear that caging people, entangling them in the justice system, and burdening them with criminal records for life, simply because of a few joints, is a waste of law enforcement resources. The ACLU of Maryland estimates that $106 million is wasted annually on enforcing marijuana possession laws. Criminalizing marijuana has destroyed lives, making it difficult for people to find a job or even get housing. These anti-marijuana laws also disproportionately target African Americans.

Endorsed: NORML Supports Marijuana Legalization Initiative in Washington State

February 17th, 2012

The NORML Board of Directors officially endorsed a cannabis legalization initiative at the recently concluded Annual Meeting that has qualified for the November ballot in the state of Washington.

For the next nine months national NORML and its dozen in-state chapters will provide logistical, strategic, communications and fundraising support for Initiative 502, whose co-petitioner is NORML Advisory Board member and best-selling author/TV host Rick Steves.

NORML’s staff envisages two more marijuana-related reform initiatives likely qualifying for this year’s fall ballot:

*Citizens in Colorado will likely have the opportunity to vote for a binding voter initiative that will legalize cannabis for responsible adult use, cultivation and sales.

*Citizens in Massachusetts too will likely get to send a strong reform message to the federal government this fall when they vote in a binding voter initiative that will legalize the use of cannabis for qualified patients for medical use and allow regulated retail sales.

Also, cannabis law reform advocates in numerous states are trying to join the states listed above in qualifying reform-minded initiatives on their state ballots too. Those states are:

*California (Multiple competing reform initiatives regarding legalization, i.e., ‘Regulate‘ and ‘Repeal‘; Another one for regulating medical cannabis)

*Michigan (Legalization initiative)

*Missouri (Legalization initiative)

*Montana (Legalization initiative)

*Nebraska (Legalization initiative)

It should be abundantly clear by now to federal legislators and the executive branch that while they unwisely continue to support a failed public policy like Cannabis Prohibition–when over 50% of the public now support long overdue cannabis law reforms–citizens (and an increasing number of elected policymakers) at the state level will continue to steadily increase political pressure on the federal government to capitulate on Cannabis Prohibition and embrace demonstrably more free market and Constitutional-friendly alternative public policies that actually benefit citizens and governments, and in turn, public health and safety too.

This upcoming election season will once again confirm that this political trend in cannabis law reform is  long-standing, sustainable and poised for multiple political victories at the state level in the short years to come.



Activist Legend Dana Beal Headed To Prison

January 2nd, 2012
​Political activist Dana Beal turns 65 next week. For more than 40 years, Dana has been on the forefront of the battle for drug law reform and civil liberties. And in a few weeks, he'll turn himself in to serve an 11-month prison sentence.Beal, as has been the case for his entire life, has a lot of irons in the fire. Besides his work to ensure safe access for medical marijuana patients nationwide, the firebrand radical works to bring ibogaine, an herb that promises to cure heroin/opiate addiction, to the people who need it most.Of course, his impending prison sentence will interrupt the many projects about which Beal is passionate, including the Yippie Museum in New York, which will chronicle the 1960s' culture of rebellion which spawned the Youth International Party (YIP), which Beal co-founded with his legendary friends Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman back in 1968. Continue reading "Activist Legend Dana Beal Headed To Prison" >

Man Can Get His Pot License Plate

November 23rd, 2011

Nebraska has snuffed out a lawsuit by agreeing to issue a marijuana-themed personal license plate to an activist leading a legalization drive in the state.

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles agreed Friday to sell the “NE420″ plate to Frank Shoemaker of Holbrook, a lawyer working to put marijuana legalization on the 2012 ballot.  The department previously denied the plate because the number “420″ is associated with “a date and time for people to gather and smoke marijuana/cannabis,” said Beverly Neth, department director.

Shoemaker, with the backing of Nebraska ACLU, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, arguing that the denial infringed on his First Amendment right to free speech.  The lawsuit brought the dispute to the attention of Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who quickly advised the department to issue the plate based on similar federal cases in other states.

“They deemed it was probably a plate that might prevail at a federal level,” Neth said.  “They deemed it was best to go ahead and issue the plate.”

DMV officials based their denial on state law that prohibits messages that “express, connote or imply any obscene or objectionable words or abbreviations.” In addition to its pot connections, April 20 is the birthday of Adolf Hitler and date of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.

Staff members review all applications and routinely use the “obscene or objectionable” standard to reject applicants.  Some of Nebraska’s 60,000 message plates have even been recalled after the DMV received complaints from other motorists, Neth said.

While the courts have upheld the authority of states to reject obscene messages on license plates, they have cautioned that blocking plates simply because they offend someone is too broad of a standard, said Amy Miller, director of Nebraska ACLU.

The 8th U.S.  Circuit Court of Appeals recently decided a case in Missouri in which the applicant wanted “Aryan1″ on her plate.

Missouri officials rejected it because it was offensive, but the court invalidated the decision because it infringed upon constitutionally protected free expression, Miller said.

“The problem with offensive messages is that is simply too vague,” she said.  “Something that is offensive for me on ‘The Simpsons’ is perfectly acceptable for viewing on prime-time television.”

Miller said she was unaware of other plate applicants who have fought denials.  She stressed that both Shoemaker and the ACLU asked the DMV to reverse the denial before moving ahead with the lawsuit.

Proposition 19 seeks to legalize the private noncommercial use of cannabis in Nebraska.  Shoemaker argued that denying his license application was an effort to silence a call to legalize pot.

“No one should have to fear government censorship for his political views,” Shoemaker said Monday in a press release.

Source: Omaha World-Herald (NE)
Copyright: 2011 Omaha World-Herald Company
Author: Joe Duggan

Nebraska Agrees To Allow Pro-Marijuana License Plates

November 21st, 2011
​After initially saying no, the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles relented on Monday, agreeing to issue pro-marijuana license plates to a Holbrook man.Frank Shoemaker had sued the state Thursday in federal court, saying Nebraska's refusal to grant him "NE420" plates violated his Constitutional right to free speech, reports Peter Salter at the Lincoln Journal Star. Continue reading "Nebraska Agrees To Allow Pro-Marijuana License Plates" >

Nebraska Man Sues Over Rejection Of NE420 License Plate

November 18th, 2011
​An attorney and marijuana advocate from southwestern Nebraska is suing the state Department of Motor Vehicles after his application for a personalized license plate was denied because state officials claimed it would "promote illegal drug use."The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the federal lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Frank Shoemaker of Holbrook, saying that Nebraska violated Shoemaker's constitutionally protected right to free speech, reports KETV. Continue reading "Nebraska Man Sues Over Rejection Of NE420 License Plate" >

New Group Aims To ‘Keep Nebraska Off Weed’ (KNOW)

September 29th, 2011
​You can breathe a sigh of relief, Nebraska. There's a group volunteering to protect you from cannabis. Now, who's going to protect you from them?PRIDE Omaha officials announced on Wednesday a new campaign to combat efforts to legalize marijuana in Nebraska, reports Jay Withrow at the Omaha World-Herald.The local anti-drug organization, which has been pissing off potheads since 1978, is unveiling KNOW, Keep Nebraska Off Weed.​The campaign is officially opposing at least two efforts to legalize marijuana in Nebraska, according to Susie Dugan, PRIDE Omaha's executive director. The legalization efforts are collecting signatures to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2012 general election ballot. Continue reading "New Group Aims To 'Keep Nebraska Off Weed' (KNOW)" >

Nebraska Drug Tax Stamps Not Big Sellers

September 6th, 2011
​Lots of folks might tell you that taxation is the first step towards legalization, but it ain't necessarily so. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a number of legislatures passed laws establishing state taxes on illegal drugs -- though very few people know about the taxes, and even fewer pay them. Nebraska, in 1990, was one of the states which decided to tax illicit drugs, and like most of the other state drug taxes, that law is still in effect.People hauling drugs through Nebraska are required by law to buy stamps to affix on the packages, even though the drugs are illegal in the first place, reports Cory Matteson of the Lincoln Journal Star. The stamp doesn't legalize the transport, yet it's illegal not to have it.Nebraska's drug tax stamps are actually pretty cool looking, for kitsch value alone. In what lawmakers must have imagined was a bold and thought-provoking design, the somber background is a tombstone marked "RIP" with the foreground featuring a skull and... not crossbones, but crossdrugs: a syringe and a fat joint."The 1990 Nebraska Unicameral passed and Governor Kay Orr signed LB260 establishing a state tax on illegal drugs," said Deepa Buss, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Revenue. "The intent of the law was to give law enforcement an alternative tool against drug dealers."If a prosecutor couldn't win a conviction for selling drugs, he might be able to send the suspect to prison for failing to pay the drug tax," Buss said. "Or the prosecution could win a conviction on both charges, increasing the potential penalties." Continue reading "Nebraska Drug Tax Stamps Not Big Sellers" >