Nebraska reverses course on pot-promoting vanity plate
OMAHA, Neb |
OMAHA, Neb (Reuters) - Nebraska reversed course on Monday on its decision to refuse a request for a personalized license plate that refers to an unofficial holiday known as National Pot Smoking Day, saying it would allow the plate.
An attorney who supports marijuana legalization had requested a plate reading "NE 420", letters and numerals that refer to Nebraska and April 20, the date of the unofficial holiday.
But the state's motor vehicle department had initially refused, prompting a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Beverly Neth, director of the DMV had said the "420" numerals were used to promote marijuana use, an illegal drug in the state, and had other negative associations.
But the Nebraska Attorney General's Office said on Monday that Frank Shoemaker, who had requested the plates, would be allowed to have them.
Amy Miller, the ACLU Nebraska chapter's legal director who had said she saw the issue as a free speech issue, said she was pleased with the reversal.
Shoemaker, of Holbrook, Nebraska, is the sponsor of a petition drive for a state ballot measure next year to legalize marijuana. The plate had been denied during an initial application process.
"All I ever wanted was to work with fellow Nebraskans in the democratic process of this ballot campaign," Shoemaker said. "No one should have to fear government censorship for his political views."
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)
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