It has been almost 20 years since I lived in Omaha, and it is with mixed feelings that I have returned. The last time I lived here, George Bush Jr. was president and the war in Afghanistan was new, West Omaha was 156th St, and cannabis was illegal throughout the country.
Back then, we had such good weed that I would have put it up against anywhere in the world. The local strain was Willies One Hit Wonder Buds. It was truly dank. Dank enough for me to affectionately rename the city Danktown. It was light and dark green, coated with crystals and red hairs, and stuck to your top finger when it was squeezed. It was fresh. It was not grown in a massive warehouse, but in a dank basement in small batches. It was truly the definition of “buy Local”.
Today it is dead. It has been replaced by the shitty Colorado weed and the Frankenstein creation delta 8 THC[i] that became legalized under the Farm Act a few years ago. I am not a fan of artificial anything, so the rise of these new cannabis spots is a bit alarming to me. But, I have learned a lot in my activist days in legal states and I can only hope to bring the progress here to Nebraska.
I know it will be hard, however. It is a world that pays kids to tear up highly coveted (at least in some states) feral “hemp for Victory” in their fields. The state Attorney General successfully sued and removed a medical marijuana initiative from the ballot in 2020[ii]. The current governor even went so far as saying that legal cannabis will “kill your kids”[iii] despite the lack of evidence in the very articles he quoted as sources. What is scary is that he is going to be replaced in the next primary by a much more authoritarian, right wing T***p supporting politician in the next election.
The City vs. Country divide has been a thing here in Nebraska for as long as I have been alive. And most certainly longer. In a country that has only four states that continue to keep cannabis fully illegal, Nebraska sits adjacent to two of them. It seems inevitable that Nebraska voters will slide toward fearmongering and the zero-sum game over economic development and social equity (this was written before the big Roe v Wade vote). 3% of the population of the United states are full on endorsing cannabis prohibition. And Nebraska, for some odd reason, wants to support this kind of backwards thinking.
But, this is my home too. I had a wonderful advantage in having so many supporters and allies in California and Colorado. The real problem is that cannabis use seems to be a Democratic issue, which makes it evil. It doesn’t matter that Omaha and Lincoln are 40% of the population. And I have to do all I can to provide a safe place for myself and people like me. People who enjoy activities other than drinking. People who like to explore ideas and cultures and create happy, healthy, and wholesome communities. I know they are here, and I will find them because the more of us there are, the better our chances to get this issue over the final hurdle.