Senators push for medical marijuana legalization

By: Jenn Schanz
jschanz@klkntv.com 

Dominic Gillen is your average Nebraska dad; except his son has 30–40 seizures a day.

Like many who gathered at the Capitol Friday, he believes medical marijuana could help.

“It’s not about getting him high, it’s not about anyone else getting high. It’s about using something that’s a natural plant to give him an opportunity to have control of his seizures,” Gillen said. 

He was joined at the Capitol by dozens of other families and supporters of LB643, a bill introduced by Sen. Garrett.

It would legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska; making it the 25th state to do so. 

“People abuse prescription medications; we don’t outlaw prescription medications because someone might abuse it,” said Sen. Garrett. 

Studies show there are benefits of marijuana in treating chronic pain and the side effects of Chemotherapy, ALS, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Some studies have also shown it helps Epilepsy patients and others who suffer from seizures, like Gillen’s son, Will

Will was supposed to join him today, but suffered a serious seizure last night and had to got to emergency room.

“He has a full face helmet, and he ended up cracking the helmet and almost breaking his nose,” Gillen said. 

Several other parents of sick kids came to support Garrett’s bill; they argue medical marijuana is a natural alternative to harsh prescriptions.

But not everyone’s on board.

Garrett’s bill comes less than a month after Attorney General Doug Peterson voiced his commitment to cracking down on all things marijuana related.

“The first step is to go ahead and do a medical marijuana law, have very loose standards, so just anyone can get the medical excuse,” Peterson said. 

But Garrett and his supporters say the slippery slope argument won’t work here; Garrett plans to revise the bill before it goes to committee, so there’s no gray area.

“We’re going to make this as air tight as we can possible make it,” he said. 

Peterson says we need to give it time, and in three to five years if studies back it up, he’ll reconsider.

Until then, he says let the FDA make the call.

“If there’s good medical evidence that it works, the FDA will approve it,” Peterson said. 

Click here for details on LB 643: http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/104/PDF/Intro/LB643.pdf