Lancaster County's public defender says Nebraska ought to decriminalize marijuana and regulate its distribution.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Joe Nigro said at a Thursday forum in Omaha that he's not advocating the use of marijuana. But he says prohibition has failed and that the state's criminal justice system shouldn't be treating a health issue.

The forum was hosted by the National Association of Social Workers' Nebraska chapter.

Nigro also criticized state Attorney General Doug Peterson for continuing to pursue legal action with Oklahoma against Colorado over its marijuana policies. Peterson had left the forum before Nigro's remarks, but Peterson later defended the lawsuit, saying in an email that the effort is backed by all nine former administrators of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.