Medical marijuana battle comes to Capitol

January 25, 2019 GMT

Brooke Lawlor turned 26 on Friday.

Here’s how the young woman who has suffered seizures since she was an infant wanted to spend her birthday: At the Capitol with her parents, providing support for a reincarnation of the medical marijuana bill (LB110) introduced by Lincoln Sen. Ann Wishart.

So she came in the morning, with her service dog Bear, and sat in the Rotunda to watch her mother, Sheri, lobby on behalf of the bill.

Brooke Lawlor had some thoughts on the fact that Gov. Pete Ricketts’ office was to host a news conference at noon with former Husker football coach Tom Osborne and others to talk about Wishart’s bill.

He and the governor shouldn’t be so scared of the drug that could help her and others with epilepsy, she said.

Her parents want her to have the option of the medical cannabis drug. Now she takes more than 500 pills a month, more than 6,000 a year. These drugs have dangers in and of themselves, they said.

Sheri Lawler has been a longtime advocate for legalizing medical marijuana, lobbying senators on behalf of her daughter and others in the same health dilemma.

“How many more years do we have to wait for this when so many states have seen the light,” she asked Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth Friday. “It’s not the big bad bogeyman. It actually can help people.”

Osborne and those that will appear at the news conference — Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, Nebraska State Patrol Superintendent Col. John Bolduc, Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health Director Sheri Dawson — are expected to say otherwise.

Wishart said that while Osborne is a legend in Nebraska in many ways, on the medical cannabis issue he is on the wrong side of history.

“I think what you’ll see that is glaringly missing at their press conference is the 70 percent of Nebraskans that support this issue across the state,” she said. “And if people want to meet them, they’ll be at the hearing.”

The Judiciary Committee hearing begins at 1:30 in the Warner Chamber. Wishart’s is one of four bills being heard.

“I anticipate we’ll have a pretty large hearing,” she said.