LittleTree Strongbow has three children. She also has bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorders.
And while the Omaha woman said using heavy pharmaceuticals like Valium to treat those illnesses doesn't allow her to be an effective mother, she believes marijuana does.
So Strongbow showed up in downtown Lincoln on Saturday decked out in a marijuana-themed bandanna and a belt made of artificial cannabis leaves. With a bullhorn in hand, she and about three dozen other proponents paraded around the Capitol and along O Street advocating for legalized marijuana in agriculture and medicine.
Prohibiting it has proved ineffective, she said. When asked how long it would take for someone to find and purchase illegal marijuana in Lincoln, Strongbow estimated about 20 minutes.
Strongbow believes the government is dismissing protesters' arguments because large companies are threatened by the prospect of domestically grown hemp, or agricultural cannabis, entering the marketplace. But she said hemp as a crop could be a boon to Nebraska's economy.
March organizer Diana Wulf agrees. Wulf, who said she also has post-traumatic stress disorder, had a prescription for medical marijuana when she lived in Colorado. Medical marijuana is now legal in 15 states and Washington, D.C., but not in Nebraska.
Wulf, who lives in Staplehurst, said she leaned on marijuana when she stopped using methamphetamine several years ago. She said pot helps her stay away from harder drugs and alcohol.
A former hog farmer, Wulf also sees potential for hemp in agriculture. If legalized in Nebraska, she said, agriculturally produced hemp could help farmers recovering from recent shifts in food production. Hemp can be used to help make clothing, bricks and myriad other items, but it cannot be grown commercially in the United States. Wulf said practical uses of cannabis are often overlooked by its opponents.
"It's not about getting high," she said. "It's about industry. It's about medicine."
Others contend marijuana is a dangerous drug, and say claims of medical benefits are fabricated or exaggerated. The Controlled Substances Act classifies the drug as an unsafe and potentially addictive substance, and the Drug Enforcement Administration says medical marijuana is "a fallacy."
Rumi Miller disagrees. Miller, 20, has been using marijuana since her 14th birthday. She joined the march Saturday because she hoped to spread awareness and dispel what she sees as common misconceptions about the drug. Miller said she has bipolar disorder, and marijuana helps her cope with the disease's symptoms.
"It helps me stay focused and calm," she said. "Today I haven't smoked at all and I feel all jittery."