Nebraska Families Fight for Medical Marijuana

LINCOLN, Neb. — For some Nebraska families, 30 minutes with the Governor Tuesday wasn’t enough time to change his mind on medical marijuana in Nebraska.

Governor Pete Ricketts said until the Federal Drug Administration approves the drug as safe and effective, medical marijuana will have to wait. However, some families said they just don’t have the time.

Two families, both with children who battle epilepsy on a daily basis, said each day without marijuana is a risk to their kids’ lives and all they want is a chance.

A wave of disappointment spread across Shelley and Dominic Gillen’s faces Tuesday.

“It’s just very emotional to share your personal stories, to pour your heart out and to still be told that they wont help you,” Shelley Gillen said.

The Bellevue couple fought for their 13-year-old son, Will, who battles epilepsy.

The couple said the FDA’s refusal to approve medical marijuana has made their son a pharmaceutical drug addict, and yet the seizures don’t stop.

“He had a seizure just as we finished the meeting,” Dominic Gillen said. “The Governor had already walked out of the room, but Will had a seizure in there.”

For 22-year-old Brooke Lawlor, it’s a similar story. She wears a helmet to protect herself, but her mom said it’s not enough.

“You know, I just work with her to try and get her the best that she can possibly be, because I won’t be around for the rest of [her] life,” Brooke’s Mother, Shari Lawlor of Valley said.

Lawlor said medical marijuana would calm Brooke’s brain and help her seizures stop.

After hearing the families’ stories, Governor Ricketts said he appreciates their honesty, but for right now his stance stays the same.

“It doesn’t change the fact that we do have an FDA that we use to process drugs, right? To evaluate whether or not drugs are safe or effective,” Governor Pete Ricketts said.

Lawlor said if medical marijuana comes to Nebraska, it might be too late for her daughter.

While the Governor’s decision is based on the FDA’s, state senators could still approve a measure that would allow medical marijuana in Nebraska. That bill could be debated at the capitol this week.

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