BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- A couple has joined the high-profile lawsuit over the legislature's decision to replace the medical cannabis ballot initiative, bringing with it a story of battling cancer and internet memes.
Nate and Shalyce Kizerian are the latest to add their names as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the state by Epilepsy Association of Utah and Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE).
"I wasn’t originally going to be a part of that, but my family went through hell, you know, to medicate my wife," Nate Kizerian said Wednesday. "Somewhere along the way, I started falling in love with other patients and their stories."
Shalyce Kizerian is battling stage four colon cancer. She has used cannabis to help in her treatment. On the day FOX 13 was to meet with them, Shalyce was ill and unable to do an interview. But in the lawsuit, she argues that what the Utah State Legislature passed, blocks her from getting access to what she needs.
"Mr. and Ms. Kizerian desire to use raw, unprocessed cannabis flower so Ms. Kizerian will not experience intoxication. Under H.B. 3001, Mr. Kizerian cannot obtain raw plant to use in a juicer so that Ms. Kizerian will not have to get high, which she dislikes. H.B. 3001 allows only flower in blister packs, which is not available and which will not be plentiful enough for the production of the tincture that is effective in reducing or eliminating the symptoms Ms. Kizerian has suffered," the lawsuit states.
The Kizerians have obtained an "affirmative defense" letter, allowing her to use cannabis now -- however she obtains it -- and avoid prosecution as a qualifying patient.
"Financially, it’s been rough," Nate Kizerian said. "The Colorado trips, I haven’t had to do that much, because I have a source here locally."
Nate Kizerian is best known for his popular Facebook page, "Utah Satire," that skewers local politics and culture. More than once he has roasted the lawmakers and politicos who replaced Prop. 2. While some consider it trolling, he argues that his memes have brought awareness to the ballot initiative and engaged voters.
Prop. 2 was the first time Nate Kizerian said he voted, and he vigorously opposed the bill that replaced it, negotiated between medical cannabis supporters and opponents including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"HB 3001 is a dumpster fire and it’s not good for patients at all," he said. "The reason I picked team TRUCE is they never dropped the ball. They never threw my wife under the bus."
The Utah Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the Kizerians joining TRUCE and EAU's lawsuit. The litigation has been moved from state to federal court where it awaits a hearing date.
"It’s definitely a civil rights battle," Nate Kizerian said. "For my wife’s right to medicate, and other patients."