WYNOT, Neb. (KCAU) — Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana thus far and, after having their measure thrown out by the Supreme Court two years ago, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana are trying to get back on the ballot.
Jayen Hochstein turned twelve years old on November 4, and to celebrate, his mom Nicole, who works as a coordinator for Sarpy and Cedar Counties for the non-profit Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, decided to put together petition drives in all twelve towns of Cedar County on Saturday. It was all organized to fight for the legalization of a medicine that could help her son, as nothing else has.
“He’s tried every medication available to him, some FDA approved, some non-FDA approved for a child his age,” said Nicole Hochstein.
Jayen was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy as an infant and has already gone through one brain surgery. Now, doctors are recommending he have another procedure. Still, Nicole keeps battling, not just for her child, but for all who could benefit.
“So it’s a passion of mine because of my child but has become so much more for me. I have met so many people who are either currently benefitting or could possibly benefit from medical marijuana,” said Hochstein.
Nicole and the rest of the grassroots organization helped raise more than enough signatures in 2019 but lawmakers were able to strike it down before even getting to Election Day.
“The Supreme Court ruled three to five that it did not follow single subject because there was both a patient’s rights and a business’s rights in the same ballot. However, I feel you can’t have one without the other,” said Hochstein.
This time, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana were able to rewrite the language so that there’s now two petitions that at least 7% of Nebraska’s registered voters must sign, as well as 5% in at least 38 counties. Hochstein spoke on what it means to get support from her home county Saturday in hopes for a better future for Jayen and many others.
“And it’s been so amazing to see my community, the town that I grew up in, the town my husband grew up in. A lot of our volunteers today were family friends, people who did this because they know my child and know what he’s been through,” said Hochstein.
Hochstein says they must submit all paperwork and verified signatures to the state by July 7 next year to have a shot at a vote in 2022. For more on their cause, check out their Facebook page or their website for upcoming events or ways to help.