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Cannabis Activist Krystal Gabel Runs for Nebraska Governor

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Photo Thierry Ehrmann

Politics

Cannabis Activist Krystal Gabel Runs for Nebraska Governor

A cannabis activist in Nebraska is running for governor as a Republican.

The political climate of cannabis is changing. According to a recent Gallup poll, support for cannabis legalization amongst conservatives is at an all-time high, falling at a whopping 51 percent of Republicans. One of those conservative advocates is Krystal Gabel, who is running for Governor of Nebraska in 2018.

“We need to think about building jobs and healing our sick people, whether they are young or old,” explained Gabel in a phone interview with Cannabis Now.

Since she has previously volunteered with third parties, including Legal Cannabis Now and the Green Party, why run under a conservative platform in the age of Trump, especially when he has appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general? Strategy, Gabel said.

Nebraska is a red state, she stressed. The state hasn’t elected a Democrat in a gubernatorial election since 1994. Additionally, the New York Times reports, nearly 59 percent of the state voted for Trump.

“We have a high independent population, who just need to be persuaded to participate in a primary,” Gabel said. “For me, to run Republican, it’s about getting people out in the primary like Bernie did.”

Every four years, the primary election occurs the spring before the fall’s general election. There are two primary elections: one for Republican candidates, the other for Democrats. To participate in the Republican primary election, for instance, you must be registered to vote as a Republican.

Fortunately, petitioning for the primary election has invited her to spark conversations around law enforcement, employment, and cannabis.

“We have a low unemployment rate [in Nebraska], but people can’t find jobs because of their [criminal] history,” Gabel said. “If I’m out petitioning and I meet 100 people in two hours, I bet 30 percent of them have been tangled up in the law. I know more unemployed people because they can’t find a job.”

As of October 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the state’s unemployment rate at 2.8 percent, but Gabel stressed that number doesn’t include felons, including those who have been arrested on non-criminal, marijuana-related charges. As governor, she’s committed to expunging records to help those with marijuana-related charges find jobs again.

Gabel is only one of two declared candidates for the Republican primary on May 15, 2018. The other candidate is Pete Ricketts, the state’s current governor and son of TD Ameritrade founder, Joe Ricketts. In 2014, Ricketts won a six-way Republican primary before winning the general election by 57 percent.

In April 2015, the office of Gov. Ricketts released a statement condemning marijuana as a “dangerous drug.” The letter also cited a 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine from the National Institute on Drug Abuse that invalidated the benefits of cannabis. In contrast, the National Academy of Sciences released a report this past January with almost 100 conclusions on cannabis research conducted over the past 20 years which discussed the many medicinal benefits to treat pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and multiple sclerosis.

In early 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States denied to hear Nebraska and Oklahoma’s lawsuit against Colorado’s recreational and medical cannabis policies.

Currently, there are no declared gubernatorial candidates under the Democratic Party. Bob Krist is confirmed to be running as an independent. Krist helped introduce medical cannabis legislation to the state unicameral legislature earlier this year.

This isn’t Gabel’s first race, either. Previously, she ran to serve on Metropolitan Utilities District last year and Omaha City Council this year, but lost both elections. However, Ricketts, too, has a history of losing elections. According to USA Today, Ricketts dropped 13 million dollars on a U.S. Senate race only to lose to Democrat, the most recent Democrat to be elected to Governor in 1994, Ben Nelson.

TELL US, is a candidate’s stance on cannabis important towards securing your vote?

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. roger

    May 1, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Let me tell you about my experience because of a marijuana user.
    I was in the Navy and aboard ship in the South China Sea, off the coast of South Vietnam, about 1970-71.
    We were steaming at night in formation with a group of other vessels.
    At the helm, from where the ship is steered, was a young sailor who had smoked some marijuana earlier in the day in a secluded area of the ship, and had tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, in his system. He had apparently smuggled the illegal substance aboard during shore leave somewhere.
    The Officer of the Deck gave an order for him, the Helmsman, to change the course being steered to a different course, to keep the ship’s designated position with the other ships in the task force.
    Now, there are a large number of steady or blinking blue, green, amber, and red low intensity indicator lights on the bridge for night operation and night vision purposes, and these, along with the darkness and time, were apparently affecting the sailor’s vision, judgment, alertness, and motor skills.
    The marijuana also apparently affected his ability to hear, because while the rest of the vessels were making the change in course, our ship did NOT, which resulted in our ship being on a collision course to ram another vessel!
    Sometime after midnight, 0000, the GENERAL QUARTERS ALARM sounded throughout the ship, followed by the voice command “GENERAL QUARTERS, GENERAL QUARTERS, ALL HANDS MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS, STAND BY FOR COLLISION!”
    Sailors were scrambling out of their bunks, grabbing clothes, and hurrying to their General Quarters Stations, assuming the absolute worst.
    No one wants to abandon ship at any time or in any water, especially at night in a hostile sea off the coast of a country they are at war with.
    After emergency measures were taken to change course and speed and the proverbial dust settled, and things returned to normal, the sailor in question was taken into custody and locked in the ship’s brig (jail), with someone there to keep an eye on him.
    The following morning, before breakfast was served, the “Helicopter Detail” was notified of an incoming helicopter, and the sailor was put aboard the chopper, in handcuffs, and whisked away. We never saw or heard of him again.
    Because he had chosen to smoke marijuana, and had the THC in his system, for a temporary feel good “high”, he could have caused damage to a Navy vessel, and the loss of several innocent lives.
    That is what I have against marijuana.
    At this point I will state that I am a veteran of both the Navy (1968-1972), and the Army (1985-2001).
    Near the end of my Army career, I was chosen by my superiors to attend the Army’s Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Control School. This meant, that upon completion of several days of detailed and intense classroom instruction, and the successful completion there-of, I was certified to be in charge of the collection of urine samples for random drug testing purposes.
    While attending this intense school, I learned that when a person smokes and inhales marijuana, the THC in the plant stays in your body for up to three days.
    Now, with some in Nebraska wanting to legalize medicinal marijuana, do they realize this time period where the user is still under the influence of the drug? Or, is there sufficient THC in the dosage they inhale, to affect their judgment and motor skills?

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