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Advocates of medical marijuana react to Supreme Court decision

Posted at 10:50 PM, Sep 13, 2020

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — A lot of people in Nebraska expected to be voting on medical marijuana in November, but that ended up being rejected by the Supreme Court which said the measure did not pass the single-subject rule.

Now supporters are saying that decision is causing more harm than good.

"We have literally cried, begged, pleaded with lawmakers about the right to treat our child with this medical option," said Shelley Gillen. "And no parent should have to beg a lawmaker to do that. That should be a discussion between us and his physician."

After a seven-year battle to see medical marijuana legalized in Nebraska, the supreme court's decision to keep the issue off ballots this November is the latest heartbreak for the Gillen family.

They say this measure could have been the path to provide relief for their son, Will, who suffers from hundreds of seizures daily.

Now advocates like Nebraska Senator Anna Wishart say they're back at square one.

"I'll be introducing legislation in 2021, in the January session, with the hope of passing a medical cannabis system legislatively," Wishart said, adding that in other states where medical marijuana has been legalized, it is almost always through a ballot measure, not through the legislative process.

Supporters of the measure say medical marijuana could not only provide care for patients but would also bring hundreds of jobs to Nebraskans and regulate what is already being used.

"That's the main issue when it comes to medical marijuana is, people are using it anyway, so the black market is still thriving," said Mike Martinez, owner of Leavenworth Coughy, a local CBD store.

Martinez, who hopes to open a dispensary in the future, says Governor Pete Ricketts is wrong when it comes to his stance that medical marijuana doesn't exist. Ricketts also thinks legalization could lead to more problems in the state.

"This is not something that is going to be prescribed by a doctor. It's not going to be distributed by a pharmacy," said Ricketts in a press conference last month. "These are dispensaries that will be in your communities."

But those like the Gillens remain desperate to help their loved ones and say the court's decision will only lead to more suffering.

"People who want to use marijuana recreationally are already doing it," said Dominic Dillen, Shelley's husband, and Will's father. "This law would not have made it easier on anybody else, and the only people that have been harmed are the people like Will."