Omaha Table Talk Discusses Racial Disparity and Marijuana Laws

April 22, 2021, 3:16 p.m. ·

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Earlier this week, Inclusive Communities held an Omaha Table Talk, discussing racial disparity and marijuana laws.

Guest speakers included Omaha native Jahné Maddock, who is studying to pass the California bar exam, and Sen. Terrel McKinney, representing North Omaha. They spoke on marijuana laws disproportionately affecting Black Americans and minorities in the country and Nebraska specifically.

Maddock said decriminalization of marijuana would remove criminal sanctions against smoking, possession, and in some cases, distribution. In her opinion, jail time is not necessary for the offense.

“You would have no fine at all; you would get a civil sanction… versus having to spend tax dollars on sending individuals to jails and prisons for such a non-violent offense as marijuana,” Maddock said.

Sen. McKinney spoke on what the decriminalization of marijuana would look like in the state. He said in his eyes, “we should start fresh,” and individuals should be cleared of marijuana charges.

“I think to not start fresh ignores a huge piece of why a lot of individuals are arguing for it to be legalized,” McKinney said.

Sen. McKinney introduced a bill to the Nebraska Legislature this past January called the “Marijuana Clean Slate Act.” If it passed, the bill would decriminalize marijuana in the state. View this week's table talk on Inclusive Communities Youtube.