NE Senator calls for legalization as gun crimes rise due to illegal marijuana use

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Several types of crimes are rising in Lancaster County, such as gun-related crimes, homicide, felony assault, and robbery. That’s according to Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon. He says there’s one thing these crimes almost always have in common and that’s marijuana.

Condon says the drug is being linked to a lot of the recent violence.

“With drugs, it’s a cash business so people carry cash and people often will use guns to protect that or use guns to take from those who have that, who have that money,” Condon said. “So that’s what we’re seeing a lot of our street crimes, maybe a lot of small dealers are getting robbed either of their drugs or their money, generally that is marijuana, is what we’re seeing here.”

Condon says there are about six open cases of homicide and shootings right now, all involving marijuana.

But Nebraska Senator Adam Morfeld says if the state would legalize marijuana, we would virtually eliminate some of those drug-related crimes and safely regulate and tax it.

“Just as prohibition of alcohol led to a rise in organized crime, the unnecessary prohibition of marijuana leads to a similar underground market,” Morfeld said. “Over 70% of Nebraskans support marijuana legalization in some form, and I think it’s in time that we follow the will of the people and safely and responsibly legalize and regulate.”

Morfeld says states that have legalized marijuana have seen a significant drop in drug-related crimes. He says there are several things Nebraska could benefit from if legalized.

“It would save the taxpayers a lot of money, it would also generate some revenue for property tax relief and other things. This (would) also allow law enforcement and officials to focus more time and energy on property and violent crimes,” Morfeld said.

But Condon says there are some issues that the Legislature should look at before making the push.

“One of the concerns I have is like alcohol, what is that legal limit for marijuana, for being under the influence of marijuana, being able to drive. I think it would be helpful for legislatures to look at those issues,” Condon said.

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