Man Can Get His Pot License Plate

Nov 23, 2011

Nebraska has snuffed out a law­suit by agree­ing to issue a marijuana-themed per­sonal license plate to an activist lead­ing a legal­iza­tion drive in the state. The Nebraska Depart­ment of Motor Vehi­cles agreed Fri­day to sell the “NE420″ plate to Frank Shoe­maker of Hol­brook, a lawyer work­ing to put mar­i­juana legal­iza­tion on the 2012 bal­lot.  The depart­ment pre­vi­ously denied the plate because the num­ber “420″ is asso­ci­ated with “a date and time for peo­ple to gather and smoke marijuana/cannabis,” said Bev­erly Neth, depart­ment direc­tor. Shoe­maker, with the back­ing of Nebraska ACLU, filed a fed­eral law­suit Thurs­day, argu­ing that the denial infringed on his First Amend­ment right to free speech.  The law­suit brought the dis­pute to the atten­tion of Nebraska Attor­ney Gen­eral Jon Brun­ing, who quickly advised the depart­ment to issue the plate based on sim­i­lar fed­eral cases in other states. “They deemed it was prob­a­bly a plate that might pre­vail at a fed­eral level,” Neth said.  “They deemed it was best to go ahead and issue the plate.” DMV offi­cials based their denial on state law that pro­hibits mes­sages that “express, con­note or imply any obscene or objec­tion­able words or abbre­vi­a­tions.” In addi­tion to its pot con­nec­tions, April 20 is the birth­day of Adolf Hitler and date of the Columbine High School shoot­ings in Col­orado. Staff mem­bers review all appli­ca­tions and rou­tinely use the “obscene or objec­tion­able” stan­dard to reject appli­cants.  Some of Nebraska’s 60,000 mes­sage plates have even been recalled after the DMV received com­plaints from other motorists, Neth said. While the courts have upheld the author­ity of states to reject obscene mes­sages on license plates, they have cau­tioned that block­ing plates sim­ply because they offend some­one is too broad of a stan­dard, said Amy Miller, direc­tor of Nebraska ACLU. The 8th U.S.  Cir­cuit Court of Appeals recently decided a case in Mis­souri in which the appli­cant wanted “Aryan1″ on her plate. Mis­souri offi­cials rejected it because it was offen­sive, but the court inval­i­dated the deci­sion because it infringed upon con­sti­tu­tion­ally pro­tected free expres­sion, Miller said. “The prob­lem with offen­sive mes­sages is that is sim­ply too vague,” she said.  “Some­thing that is offen­sive for me on ‘The Simp­sons’ is per­fectly accept­able for view­ing on prime-time tele­vi­sion.” Miller said she was unaware of other plate appli­cants who have fought denials.  She stressed that both Shoe­maker and the ACLU asked the DMV to reverse the denial before mov­ing ahead with the law­suit. Propo­si­tion 19 seeks to legal­ize the pri­vate non­com­mer­cial use of cannabis in Nebraska.  Shoe­maker argued that deny­ing his license appli­ca­tion was an effort to silence a call to legal­ize pot. “No one should have to fear gov­ern­ment cen­sor­ship for his polit­i­cal views,” Shoe­maker said Mon­day in a press release. Source: Omaha World-Herald (NE) Copy­right: 2011 Omaha World-Herald Com­pany Con­tact: pulse@​owh.​com Web­site: http://​www​.omaha​.com/ Author: Joe Duggan

27a3d2c1fb0X240.jpeg 150x74 Man Can Get His Pot License Plate

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Man Can Get His Pot License Plate

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