State Sen. Morfeld disputes attorney general’s comments about medical marijuana bill, petition

State Sen. Morfeld disputes attorney general’s comments about medical marijuana bill, petition
Adam Morfeld

A Lincoln state senator is calling out Attorney General Doug Peterson for saying a petition and bill that would legalize medical marijuana are motivated by the marijuana industry.

Lincoln State Sens. Adam Morfeld and Anna Wishart are the co-sponsors of a petition drive to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska, and Wishart introduced a bill that would do the same.

Peterson made the comments Wednesday on an Omaha radio show.

“We know it (the bill and petition drive) is coming from an industry that … is making billions and wants to sweep the country with access to some very high-potency marijuana,” Peterson said.

Morfeld tweeted an open letter he sent to Peterson on Thursdaay.

“In the future,” Morfeld wrote, “if you are curious as to my motives, instead of pondering them on the radio, I would encourage you to call my cell phone, send me a text message, message me on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or email, drop by my office or arrange time for coffee — a courtesy I have always extended to you, despite our differences from time to time.”

Morfeld invited Peterson to his home or office to discuss what he said is his motivation: people suffering from PTSD, seizures, chronic pain and opioid addiction.

“I will clear my schedule,” he wrote.

Morfeld said he hadn’t received a response by early Thursday evening.

Peterson’s office responded to questions about the matter in a statement Thursday afternoon: “The Attorney General has been clear about the public health risks legalized marijuana poses, particularly the risk it creates for our young people. He has visited with countless Nebraskans including many Senators and will continue to do so.”

Peterson said on the radio that Colorado should be studied to see the effects of recreational marijuana. The state has seen higher intoxicated driving rates, he said.

“There’s no doctors in white coats coming and saying, ‘Hey, these are great treatment options, and your citizens need it,’” Peterson said. “That’s not where this comes from. It’s an industry that wants to profit.”

> College savings for all. Nebraska’s new state treasurer wants to establish a college savings plan for every Nebraskan upon birth and throw in $100 in seed money. State Treasurer John Murante said such automatic college savings accounts have shown to improve academic achievement by giving every kid hope that they can attend and afford college.

The idea, which would be funded with private funds or leftover state cash funds, would help achieve a goal of making Nebraska the best “college saving state” in the nation, Murante said. He joined state senators Thursday in unveiling a package of proposals on the subject.

> Minimum wage. Nebraska’s minimum wage of $9 per hour would increase every year with inflation under LB 383, introduced by Sen. Dan Quick of Grand Island. LB 400, offered by Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha, would raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from the current $2.13 per hour to 50 percent of the minimum wage for other workers.

Both measures would have to get 33 votes to pass, because they are proposing to change a minimum wage approved by a vote of the people. Backers of a higher minimum wage used an initiative petition to put the issue on the ballot after failing to get any increase through the Legislature.