October 29, 2009
Capital Times: OPED: Gary Storck: Time is right for state to OK medical marijuana
Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, October 29, 2009
This was accompanied by a Cap Times editorial, "Doyle signals it’s time to legalize medical marijuana"
Source: Capital Times
Pubdate: Thursday, October 29, 2009
Author: Gary Storck
GARY STORCK: TIME IS RIGHT FOR STATE TO OK MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Thanks to the efforts of Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, Wisconsin's Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act is finally out of the gates and on its way to introduction in the Wisconsin Legislature.
The proposal is a comprehensive medical marijuana bill based on the law Michigan voters passed with a majority in every county in November 2008. It would cover the same debilitating conditions as Michigan does, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a major complaint of veterans returning from the Afghan and Iraq wars. Cannabis has long been known as a remedy for PTSD that helps victims of war and other trauma get on with their lives.
Last week's action by the Obama administration in setting new policy that exempts state medical marijuana programs from federal interference is just another piece of the puzzle coming together to bring this critical health care bill to the people of Wisconsin. Gov. Jim Doyle's remarks Oct. 21 in Wausau that keeping medical cannabis from patients who can benefit is "senseless" is another sign that Wisconsin is ready to do the right thing for our state's veterans, seniors, sick, dying and disabled for whom medical cannabis might be an option.
While Wisconsin patients await legislative action, some will not live long enough to see the Rickert measure become law. One such person was my dear friend Mary Powers, a wheelchair-bound Army veteran; a cancer, AIDS and hepatitis patient; and a medical cannabis activist.
For the last five years, Mary and I visited the Capitol numerous times to lobby for medical cannabis. Cannabis clearly helped Mary, slowing the progression of her cancer and helping her with the side effects of medications and endless chemo and radiation treatments. Cannabis therapy allowed her to twice testify before legislative hearings. This year, as the legislation was coming together, Mary and I instituted weekly Capitol visits. By the end of the summer, we had visited over 80 offices, and Mary and her wheelchair became a familiar figure in the Capitol.
Mary ran out of time on Thursday, Oct. 22, passing away peacefully at home. The legislation came too late for her. Although she served her country, she was forced to break the law to obtain the only medicine that treated all her symptoms and naturally elevated her mood as she struggled with multiple medical conditions, medication and treatment side effects, unending doctor visits, and way too many hours in ER and clinic waiting rooms.
We can't turn back the clock and give Mary her medicine legally, but we can protect the other "Marys" still with us.
As Jacki Rickert, namesake of the bill, has said, "This bill this time." Thirteen states comprising 25 percent of the U.S. population now protect their sick and dying using medical cannabis. It's time for medical cannabis in Wisconsin. Please help make it a reality for our veterans, seniors, sick, dying and disabled.
Gary Storck of Madison is director of communications for Is My Medicine Legal YET? www.immly.org
Posted by Gary at October 29, 2009 09:40 AM
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