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'Their lives depend on it': Volunteers push hard to put medical marijuana on Nebraska ballots

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 21:18:44-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana Campaign Manager Crista Eggers says some volunteers in the ballot petition push probably shouldn't be out in the heat with their health conditions.

"The leaders in our state, who have not taken the opportunity to do the right thing, to do what Nebraskans want, they should be ashamed because we're still here in the rain and the heat," she said. "They are because their lives depend on it."

Needing 87,000 total signatures on two separate petitions, Eggers says they need 50,000 more Nebraskans in the final three weeks before the July 7 deadline. She says each has more than 50,000 already.

If they reach that goal, Nebraskans will vote on whether to put the measures into statutory law in Nebraska in November. Organizers say because of widespread support for medical cannabis, the signature drive is the biggest hurdle.

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln survey estimates 83% of Nebraskans support marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Last week, Nebraska petition efforts received a boost from a federal judge. Eggers and Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana argued that Nebraska's requirement to reach 5% of voters in 38 counties is unconstitutional and a judge agreed they're likely enough to succeed that he temporarily blocked the requirement.

"Right now, (the judge's decision) doesn't change what we're doing," she said. "We are in all parts of the state gathering signatures."

For Eggers, the issue is personal. Her 7-year-old son, Colton, has seizures daily, she said, and no medication has worked. She believes doctor-prescribed marijuana would.

"My family faces what so many unfortunately do," she said. "Which is either to be criminals and risk losing my child — or uprooting my family. And the other option is to fight the good fight."

Eggers believes if the petition makes it to the ballot, it will be the first ballot petition to do so in a grassroots effort. The campaign is underfunded. One would-be donor died in a plane accident, she said. Another was given a terminal cancer diagnosis.

"It's tough," Eggers said. "It's very, very tough to stand out and know that I have a little boy at home who I'm away from, the sacrifice that so many people in this effort have made ... It's disgusting to still be here."

WEB EXTRA: Volunteers push hard to put medical marijuana on Nebraska ballots

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