‘Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana’ react to ballot rejection

Medical marijuana petitions fall short of required valid signatures
Medical marijuana petitions fall short of required valid signatures(WOWT 6 News)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:18 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - For Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, it seems to be a case of deja vu, as another attempt to get their issue on a ballot has fallen short.

This time, the decision came not in the court system, but from the Secretary of State’s Office.

For a ballot initiative to qualify in Nebraska, there are some thresholds that must be met. On their two petitions this year, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana failed to meet signature requirements statewide and failed to get 5% of voters’ signatures in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

For years now, Crista Eggers has been the face of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana. Her son, Colton, just turned eight. He has severe epilepsy and suffers from dozens of seizures each day. Monday was a devastating blow to her group, her son, and other families hoping to get medical marijuana in front of voters this November.

“We can pack up and go home and I know that’s how we all feel today, but the reality is is that that’s not an option,” Crista said. “It’s not an option for the patients of Nebraska, it’s not an option for me and my child and all the thousands of Nebraskans that are counting on us.”

They needed 86,776 valid signatures. Their two petitions missed that number, one getting roughly 77,000 and the other 78,000. They also failed to qualify 5% of voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, the petitions only met that mark in 26 and 27 counties.

The number of families that could potentially benefit from medical marijuana is far-reaching. For moms of children with epilepsy, like Liz Janes’ 7-year-old son Vinnie, it could be used as another tool to treat it.

“It would provide lessening anxiety,” Liz said. “It would provide, just kind of ease a lot of the struggles we had and require less medication. So, you’re not eliminating the pharmaceutical side, you’re just adding something that promotes better quality of life overall.”

Other parents, like Shonda Kay, whose 15-year-old son Jacoby has spina bifida and partial complex epilepsy, said lots of talk online also points to more anger than last time it was rejected by the state, leaving many families with few options moving forward.

“We really have ostracized a part of the community that needs this for medical purposes,” Kay said.

For Eggers, she said Monday was difficult, but, like last time, they’ll try again.

“I vow not as a campaign manager, but as a mom that we will keep fighting and very soon I will be coming back and asking you to collect signatures to this all again,” Eggers said.