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September 27, 2007

Mondovi Herald News: Medical Marijuana Bill Named For Mondovi Resident

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007

With the publication of this IMMLY-submitted article in the Mondovi Herald News, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (JRMMA) today received notice in both Madison and Mondovi newspapers on practically the same day.

The message is, please contact your state legislators TODAY and ask them to please cosponsor LRB-2455/1, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act. To contact your state legislators, call the State Legislative Hotline Toll-free at: 1-800-362-9472.

Source: Mondovi Herald News (Weekly)
Pubdate: Thurs. Sept. 27, 2007
Add: 123 West Main Street, Mondovi, WI 54755
Page: 2
Note: This was submitted by IMMLY, title by Mondovi Herald News
No Website


A new medical marijuana bill named for Mondovi resident Jacki Rickert, a longtime Wisconsin medical cannabis patient-activist, will be introduced in the coming weeks. In a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the Senate Parlor at the State Capitol in Madison, State Reps. Frank Boyle (D-Superior) and Mark Pocan (D-Madison), announced they are planning to introduce "The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act" in early October, calling it Wisconsin's "most comprehensive medical marijuana legislation to date."

"I'm real proud that for the first time we are giving the bill a real name," Boyle said. "This bill will forever be known as the Jacki Rickert Bill."

Ten years ago in September 1997, Rickert led 15 medical marijuana patients on a 210-mile wheelchair "Journey for Justice" from Mondovi to Madison, which reached the Capitol on Sept. 18, 1997. The 1997 Journey for Justice was dedicated to the memory of Jacki's late physician, William E. Wright, of Mondovi, who gained approval for her participation in a federal medical marijuana program only to see George Bush the elder close it to new patients in 1992. Prior to Wednesday's press conference, Jacki led a "Last Mile" wheelchair march up Madison's State St. to the Capitol as part of a "Quest for Justice" commemorating the 1997 Journey and honoring patients who passed on in the decade since.

Rickert, the first of a group of medical cannabis patients to speak at the press conference, noted, "You see living, breathing, rolling, walking evidence right here. We wouldn't come all this way to lie to you. Why would anyone lie about something like this? It would be much easier to just stay at home and go, 'hey, it's not my problem.'"

Rickert is also the founder and patient coordinator of Is My Medicine Legal Yet? (immly.org), a non-profit group dedicated to spreading awareness and furthering access to and research of, cannabis for medical use.

"We know it works. We know it's not going to kill us," Rickert said. "I have never had an allergic reaction to a God-given herb."

"The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act" is now being circulated for cosponsors and will be formally introduced and given a bill number in early October. Jacki's group is also working with the office of State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), on an informational hearing on medical cannabis to be held in Erpenbach's Senate Health committee this November. State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) is the vice chair of the committee. To contact your state legislators, call the State Legislative Hotline Toll-free at: 1-800-362-9472.

Posted by Gary at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

Letter: Capital Times: It's time for state residents to actively support medical marijuana bill

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007

Yes, it really has been ten years since I had my first letter to the editor about medical cannabis published, and ten years since the WI Journey for Justice.

I've had quite a few letters since, while MAP/DrugSense currrently has me at 227 click here, my personal tally is over 250.

This one is special to me, and it is my number 47 in the Cap Times.

Source: The Capital Times
Pubdate: 26 Sept. 2007
Author: Gary Storck


Dear Editor: Ten years ago The Capital Times published the first letter to the editor click here I ever wrote about medical marijuana. I wrote it days after meeting the medical marijuana "Journey for Justice" at the Capitol on Sept. 18, 1997.

The journey was a 15-patient, 210-mile, seven-day, 4 mph wheelchair march from Mondovi, just south of Eau Claire, to the Capitol. It was led by a very determined woman named Jacki Rickert. We first met that day and have been friends ever since, trying to build awareness of what a difference this simple herb, cannabis, can make in seriously and chronically ill patients' lives.

This year on Sept. 18, Jacki and a number of patients in wheelchairs and on foot, accompanied by more than a dozen supporters and press, rolled up State Street to the Capitol in a "last mile" tribute to fallen patients.

Rep. Frank Boyle, D-Superior, was waiting to greet Jacki. At a press conference, Boyle and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, announced they were introducing new state medical marijuana legislation appropriately titled "the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act."

I report this because readers may be unaware of these developments as the briefing lacked a Capital Times reporter.

In the last 10 years there have been dozens of drug recalls, widespread and growing painkiller addiction, and indications that excreted drugs enter our water supplies. Meanwhile, nontoxic herbal cannabis remains illegal for medicinal use.

Although polling has found that upward of 80 percent of Wisconsinites support legal access, most citizens seem to be content to leave it at that and allow frail, seriously ill patients like Jacki to carry the load.

As special interest bills get the fast track to passage, lack of legal access to medical cannabis puts patients on the fast track to an early grave.

Call and write your legislators early and often. Until people learn to exercise their support for medical marijuana by not just calling and writing, but also voting out those who find ways to justify this cruelty, the frail, the sick, the dying will be on their own.

As Jacki would say, "Just do something!"

Gary Storck, Is My Medicine Legal YET?, Madison

Posted by Gary at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2007

Badger Herald Editorial: A higher tolerance

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Badger Herald follows up their great article about the Quest for Justice click here with this nice editorial supporting the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act.


Source: Badger Herald Editorial Board
Pubdate: Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Author: Badger Herald Editorial Board

Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Frank Boyle, D-Superior, recently introduced legislation that would legalize medicinal marijuana in Wisconsin. We urge the state to lift its ban and pass the bill.

Messrs. Boyle and Pocan introduced similar legislation in 2001. It failed then and two more times in 2003 and 2005 despite the addition of a Republican sponsor — former Oshkosh Rep. Gregg Underheim.

The influence of the “war on drugs” has convinced our elected officials that pain treatment for AIDS, cancer and glaucoma victims comes secondary to the threat of drug dealers abusing the system. They live in an alternate reality where dealers aren’t easily accessible and those who seek marijuana’s medicinal benefits are not tempted to help fuel a vast underground economy. Seriously ill patients deserve a legal avenue to acquire their preferred painkiller.

However, legalization of prescription marijuana in Wisconsin is more complex than simply passing a bill. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the federal government has the authority to prosecute possessors of marijuana, regardless of state law. Indeed, the Drug Enforcement Administration has raided numerous medical marijuana clinics in the 12 states where it is currently legal. The agency also believes a significant portion of medicinal marijuana goes to patients who are not chronically ill. And in 2006, the U.S. House voted 259-163 to reject legislation that would have barred the DEA from making raids against state-approved marijuana clinics.

Despite this, states that believe the federal government is wrong should provide this option to citizens who decide relief from their pain is worth the risk of federal prosecution. Anyone who is prescribed marijuana should be made aware of this stark reality. In addition, pressure from a growing number of states that accept medical marijuana will put pressure on the misguided federal policy.

Those who support a ban on medicinal marijuana often cite fears that this movement is a sort of ruse by the pro-drug lobby, while others insist marijuana is simply too dangerous. A 1999 Institute of Medicine report linked marijuana use to respiratory disease. Still, the report recommended its legalization for medicinal purposes. Indeed, concern over long-term health effects for seriously ill patients seems misguided and overly paternalistic.

Rather than worrying about exploitation of this legislation by drug dealers, state representatives should focus on crafting a comprehensive policy that makes it nearly impossible for dealers to pose as caregivers for the chronically ill.

It should be up to the states, and ultimately a patient and his or her doctor, to decide whether marijuana is a viable medical treatment. The state Legislature should attempt to wrench the decision from the hands of Washington politicians whose fear of a slippery slope toward the legalization of all drugs clouds their compassion for the seriously ill. While contradicting federal law is usually misguided policy, this is a matter of conscience above all else. State and national legislators who oppose medicinal marijuana should ask themselves, “If this can help alleviate a dying man’s pain, who am I to tell him ‘no?’”

Posted by Gary at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2007

Wisconsin State Journal finally reports on Wisconsin medical marijuana bill – in gossip column!

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, September 23, 2007

For some reason, many journalists, editors and apparently some Republican politicians, seem to think any mention of pot, even for medical use, is good for a laugh, a witty double entendre or a partisan slur. But the truth is, there is nothing funny about pain, about puking, about going blind, about dying.

And while the State Journal seemingly could not find a reporter to cover Tuesday's press conference announcing the "Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act", they did print an item by gossip columnist Melanie Conklin two days after the fact, making fun of medical marijuana.

I think most people would agree that when a seriously or chronically ill patient cannot access their medicine, it constitutes a medical emergency. This is the plight Wisconsin patients who need legal access to medical marijuana face each day!

I don't know which is more offensive, the State Journal failing to cover the press conference and then making light of patients need for medicine, or unnamed (as in cowardly) Republicans making light of the suffering of sick and dying constituents in the course of playing attack politics as usual.

Rather than making fun of the sincere attempt by two Assembly Democrats to change the law and get medicine to patients, which has the support of most of us, why not actually send a reporter to the press conference and report what happened, or in the case of lawmakers, listen to your constituents and cosponsor the bill?

The State Journal has covered the issue well in the past few years, and quite sympathetically. Is it old news now because the GOP leadership through the last 5 sessions (1997-2006) has sent each medical marijuana bill to a committee to die?

It is really all about the patients, and if the State Journal had actually bothered to show up and listen, they would have heard suffering patients and family members talk about how cannabis helps them manage painful and debilitating conditions.

If the State Journal wants to help set the record straight, how about inviting Jacki Rickert, myself and other medical cannabis patients to share their stories with the editorial board? My number's on the press release I sent about Tuesday's wheelchair march and press conference.

Conklin: For designers, BioShock more than fun and games click here

September 20, 2007


Smoking allowed?

Rep. Frank Boyle and Rep. Mark Pocan issued a press release announcing their co-sponsorship of a bill legalizing access to medical marijuana for patients with "debilitating medical conditions ... if authorized by their doctor," as the release put it.

But the subject line on their e-mail was titled, "WI Clean Elections Fund," causing Republicans to have much fun pondering whether Boyle and Pocan were "sampling the product they hope to legalize when they put this together," as one put it.


Posted by Gary at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2007

Wisconsin bill puts human face on political hot potato

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, September 20, 2007

Federal legal patient George McMahon was unable to attend the Quest for Justice or the press conference following, but he did do some interviews and I came across this googling for news articles about the “Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act”. This report includes quotes from Jacki and Rep. Boyle too.

Medical Marijuana: Wisconsin bill puts human face on political hot potato
click here
"Real Beer Man"
Appleton, WI
Fun Fact: a/k/a The Real Beer Man...www.scenenewspaper.com

Weak-kneed politicians fearful of offending conservative constituents have let medical marijuana bills die in committee in the Wisconsin Legislature since 1996.

On Sept. 18 medical marijuana advocates will introduce a new bill they hope makes it beyond the Assembly health committee. This time they have put a human face on the bill by calling it the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act.

"That is a great idea because Jacki has been a leader for the cause in your state," said George McMahon, an Iowa man who has been smoking Uncle Sam's marijuana since 1990. He is one of seven Americans who receive 300 government joints every month under the Federal Drug Administration's Compassionate Investigational Drug program. McMahon, who suffers from Nail Patella Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, met Jacki Rickert of Mondovi, Wis., in 1997, when Jacki traveled 210 miles by wheelchair from her home to the state Capital to deliver a message to legislators on the need for medical marijuana for people like herself.

"She is a true hero," McMahon said.

Rickert, who suffers from the wasting Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, was also approved for the federal cannabis program, but just as the first President Bush shut the program down to new participants in 1992.

"I was down to 68 pounds. My daughter said I looked like I'd just come from a concentration camp," Rickert said.

She had lost her appetite and was too weak to move herself.

"I had to be carried from room to room," she said.

Then someone suggested marijuana.

"My appetite returned. I gained strength back," she said.

She had an understanding doctor who saw her health improve with marijuana after every sanctioned pharmaceutical had failed. He helped her fill out the barrage of paperwork required for entry into the federal canabis program. But when that resource dried up because the feds figured it was sending the wrong message, Jacki, like thousands of others suffering from chronic pain and wasting diseases, turned to black market marijuana.

"I don't like being a criminal," she said, "but marijuana, this simple herb that grows anywhere, really does help me have a better quality of life. With marijuana, I take half the (legal) morphine that I used to take." McMahon will join Rickert and other state medical marijuana advocates on Sept. 18 in Madison to meet with Rep. Frank Boyle (D-Superior), who will introduce the Jacki Rickert Act.

"It's about time state lawmakers listen to the voters of the state, 80% of whom have said they believe medical marijuana should be available to the chronically ill," Boyle said. "I'm hoping by giving it a face -- the face of Jacki Rickert -- that legislators will see this bill for what it is and vote rather than let it die in committee."

Stay tuned!

Posted by Gary at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2007

Quest for Justice recap

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007

The Quest for Justice came off well today. While health issues and other snafus sliced the number of patients in wheelchairs down to a few, the "Last Mile" was well received as it made its way up State St, even garnering a standing ovation from a pair of older couples dining at an outdoor cafe. Here is my initial report, delayed by my attendance at a funeral for an old friend tonight after the Quest. My friend had died of cancer, and had utilized cannabis extensively during his illness. As I noted during the press conference, we failed him, but its not too late for others, and its not too late for Jacki.

Now only if the legislature would only listen the 80.3% of Wisconsinites who support legal access. The full article cites a later poll with different wording that only found 75% support. Immly's 2002 poll found the higher figure: click here.

After lagging back much of the march, Jacki was far in the lead as we approached the Capitol grounds where Rep. Frank Boyle was waiting to greet us. After a quick meeting with Rep. Boyle to determine the new press conferernce lineup, we proceeded to the Senate Parlor for the press conference.

With federal patient George McMahon unable to attend, as well as Ed Thompson and a nurse representing the WI Nurses Association, we decided to let more patients speak. After Frank Boyle spoke about the bill and announced its name, "The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act", Rep. Mark Pocan talked about the bill details.

Then, I took the podium, spoke a bit about Jacki and myself, and introduced Jacki. Jacki was followed by Carolyn, a young woman from Dane County with multiple sclerosis, J. T. "Osch" Oschwald, a spinal injury patient from Colorado and a national medical cannabis activist. After that we kind of opened up the discussion, with more heartfely testimonials.

Among the assembled press was Jackie Johnson from the Wisconsin Radio Network who produced a great report with audio and pictures:

Their medicine's not legal yet
Tuesday, September 18, 2007, 9:03 PM
By Jackie Johnson
click here


Jacki Rickert is in severe pain, and had discovered that cannabis really works for her.

"You see living, breathing, rolling, walking evidence right here. We wouldn't come all this way to lie to you. Why would anyone lie about something like this? It would be much easier to just stay at home and go, 'hey, it's not my problem.'"

J.F. Oschwald of Colorado is confined to a wheelchair, and he says cannabis eases some of his pain.

"Medicine is medicine and if they can regulate morphine then they can regulate marijuana."

Oschwald got a little choked up when he dreamed about a day that he "wouldn't be illegal in 38 states." Patient activist Gary Storck (also of the group Is My Medicine Legal Yet -- IMMLY) credits pot for saving the lives of some of his ailing friends.

"Just live some kind of quality of life, that's all we ask for. You know a lot of us would be in a box today if it weren't for cannabis."

Storck says pot is the best treatment for our soldiers who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. For those opposed to smoking marijuana, one supporter emphasized that you don't have to smoke it. You can reap the benefits via vaporization and eating the stuff.


Posted by Gary at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2007

Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act To Be Introduced Sept. 18

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, September 17, 2007

Below is the press release from Is My Medicine Legal YET? announcing the new Wisconsin medical cannabis bill being announced Tuesday at the Capitol!

For immediate release Monday, September 17, 2007


Mondovi & Madison - Ten years ago in September 1997, Jacki Rickert led 15 medical marijuana patients on a 210-mile wheelchair "Journey for Justice" from Mondovi to Madison that reached the Capitol on Sept. 18, 1997. On Tuesday Sept. 18, 2007, Jacki will again be at the Capitol for the "Quest for Justice", this time after a brief "Last Mile" wheelchair march honoring fallen comrades, with other patients and supporters up State St. to the Capitol steps. The march leaves Library Mall at State and Lake at 12:30 pm, arriving about 1:10 pm. Upon arrival, Jacki will proceed to a 1:30 pm press conference in the Senate Parlor with Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Frank Boyle (D-Superior) and others, announcing the introduction of medical marijuana legislation named in her honor: "The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act".

In 1991, Jacki, who suffers from several incurable medical conditions including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, was approved for participation in a small federal program that still supplies 5 living Americans with US government supplied medical marijuana. Jacki ultimately never received her medicine from the government when the program was suspended and then closed to new participants. One of the last people approved for the program, George McMahon, from Iowa, will be at the Capitol with Jacki and will join the press conference. Unlike Jacki and other Wisconsin patients in attendance, George will be able to legally use his medicine when the need arises.

Former gubernatorial candidate Ed Thompson from Tomah, a representative from the Wisconsin Nurses Association and patient-activist Gary Storck are also expected to join the press conference.

"Serious illness affects not just the patient, but also their families and friends. Watching a loved one suffer, and knowing the only medicine that helps is illegal is a cruel position far too many families face. Today, we are asking the legislature to put patients and families first. We have never asked for any special treatment, merely treatment," said Jacki Rickert.

Gary Storck, a glaucoma patient, said, "I met Jacki 10 years ago Sept. 18 and I've seen the difference medical cannabis makes in her life when she is able to access it. It's incomprehensible to me that in these 10 years, state lawmakers have passed hundreds of bills pushed by special interests, while failing to pass legislation protecting chronically and seriously ill patients that has overwhelming support among the people of Wisconsin."

Is My Medicine Legal YET? is a Mondovi and Madison based grass roots patient and caregiver organization dedicated to advancing public education about the medicinal benefits of marijuana. For further information contact Jacki Rickert or Gary Storck at 608.241.8922 or visit the IMMLY website at www.immly.org.


Posted by Gary at 12:25 AM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2007

September 18th at the Wisconsin Capitol: Medical Cannabis Quest for Justice

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the date that Jacki Rickert, accompanied by 15 other medical cannabis patients and a support crew, reached the Wisconsin State Capitol after a weeklong wheelchair march from Mondovi WI, the 1997 Wisconsin "Journey for Justice".

Wisconsin Journey for Justice video

Jacki has long been the face of medical cannabis in Wisconsin. Stricken with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and other painful and incurable medical conditions, Jacki discovered cannabis had the potential to save her life and restore a quality of life. With the help of her late physician, Jacki was approved for participation in a small US government program that to date still supplies 5 living Americans with medical marijuana each month. When the program was suspended and then closed to new members, Jacki was never supplied.

This September 18, please join Jacki and other patients and supporters at the Capitol for a commemoration of the Journey and a press conference announcing introduction of medical cannabis legislation in Wisconsin this session: "The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act".

* 12:15 pm: "Last Mile" memorial wheelchair march remembering patients who have passed: Gather at Lake and State Sts. in downtown Madison at 12:15 March departs 12:30, arrives State Capitol around 1pm.

* 1:30 pm: Press Conference inside the Capitol, exact location TBA, with medical cannabis bill sponsors Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Frank Boyle (D-Superior), Jacki Rickert, WI patient-activist Gary Storck, 5th legal federal medical marijuana patient George McMahon, WI libertarian Ed Thompson and a representative from the WI Nurses Association.

For further details and updates visit IMMLY.org and MadisonNORML.org or call 608.241.8922.

Posted by Gary at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2007

1989 Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival video from You Tube!

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007

Thanks to the magic of the Internet and YouTube, as well as the dedication of the individual who posted it, here is a great video from 1989, of the 19th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival. Watch as thousands of attendees stream across the screen. It's a great look back at the days when HF routinely attracted thousands. I was living in California waiting for the Loma Prieta earthquake and missed the festivities. Even more amazing is the fact HF37 click here is just around the corner!

Posted by Gary at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2007

Journal-Sentinel's "Off the Cuffs" column makes light of medical cannabis patient's plight

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Milwaukee’s Journal-Sentinel includes a feature called “Off the Cuffs,” described as, “Off the Cuffs chronicles small crimes, follies and foibles. It is compiled from police reports around the Milwaukee area".

As a long-term “newshawk” for the Media Awareness Project/DrugSense’s archive of drug related news articles click here, I frequently come across Off the Cuffs in googling “marijuana” and "Wisconsin". Usually, the cannabis related items are about people who are so drunk they do things like hand their stash to the police.

This week, Off the Cuffs instead makes light of the filing of charges against a Wisconsin man for allegedly growing a cannabis plant to treat his wife’s migraines. Rather than making fun, what about maybe praising the man’s dedication to his wife and his apparent willingness to do whatever it takes (“family values?”) to ease his wife’s suffering? While it seems the authorities may have cut some slack in charging the case, it still means another state patient is going without their medicine. The writer’s lighthearted suggestion for her to stick to aspirin might be funny unless one considers that the headache sufferer undoubtedly tried every legal remedy before trying cannabis. The use of cannabis to treat headaches goes back hundreds of years, long before denying medicine to the sick became US government policy.

Off the Cuffs: Just play it cool, boy, and avoid Officer Krupke click here

Posted: Sept. 2, 2007


Migraines and marijuana

A 39-year-old Lisbon man who told police that the 5-foot marijuana plant growing in his backyard was for his wife's headaches now has some legal headaches of his own.

A neighbor tipped off police, who showed up and confronted the man.

He coughed it up along with a stash cops described as a "huge number of pipes and other paraphernalia."

The man told cops it was all for personal use for his wife's headaches.

He was ticketed on suspicion of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia and, we surmise, may be using aspirin from now on.


Posted by Gary at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2007

Milwaukee Summerfest pot arrests dropping?

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, September 03, 2007

Since there is currently no organized NORML chapter in Milwaukee, I’ve been watching the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for cannabis related news and found this report on Summerfest arrests. Daily arrest figures were also posted via MPD press releases during this year’s run. As a former Milwaukee resident in the late 70’s and early 80’s, it appears today’s Summerfest is much kinder and gentler to cannabis users as long as they are discrete. Back in the day, it seemed as if pot smokers were being arrested and jailed in droves. The majority of 2007 arrests were for underage drinking. Only about 6 folks per day were arrested for cannabis, and as the article below notes, most arrests occurred on the rocks along the lakeshore.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Sept. 2, 2007
Jim Stingl: Summerfest's array of arrests offers some sobering news
click here.

Yes, I know Summerfest has been over for eight weeks. But 417 arrest reports from this year's fest just became available for public review, and I figured there had to be something there worth writing about before summer slips away.

It's those behaviorally challenged Illinois folks who get pinched at our beloved festival, right? No, it's mostly us locals and Wisconsinites living within an hour of Maier Festival Park. Of the 373 adults ticketed this summer, 60 were from Illinois and 20 were from other states.

Significantly more females (143) than males (110) were arrested for underage drinking, but their excuses to the cops were equally lame. However, gals seem to learn their lesson faster than guys, who made up two-thirds of the 28 repeat offenders. Ryan, a stumbling 19-year-old from Hartland, had an astounding five priors, the report said.

And this is surprising: Most of the people busted for public urination on the grounds did it right on the police command post down there. Perhaps it made them easier to catch. You might think marking this particular territory could enhance the fine, but it's still $175, like any other disorderly conduct.


The drug war has been waged at Summerfest from its muddy beginning. Here's the one thing I can say for sure: If you want to get arrested for smoking marijuana, do it on the rocks along Lake Michigan. Just about every pot bust came right there, as the tickets say, "in plain view."

Drug citations average about six a day. People smoking joints get off easier than those smoking pipes, who usually find themselves with two tickets - $367 for the pot, and a $235 second hit for the paraphernalia. Adam from Milwaukee said he brought the illegal weed to the festival because he lacked money for beer.


Posted by Gary at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2007

10 years ago today: A memorable medication at the hospital

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, September 02, 2007

As a young man in 1971, I had two open-heart surgeries to repair congenital heart defects. One of the surgeries fixed my aortic valve. Thanks to a great surgeon, the late heart surgery pioneer Dr. Derward Lepley, and daily cannabis use, the repair lasted 26 years, rather than the 7-10 predicted at the time of surgery.

So, it was in 1997 that I began having cardiac symptoms and reluctantly submitted to a third open-heart surgery, this time at UW Hospital. On August 7, 1997, a replacement valve was inserted, and I went home a few days after, recovering nicely.

Later in the month, a doctor removed the staples in my groin that had closed incisions where the heart-lung pump had been inserted. The incision bled a little and the she said, “I’ve got half a mind to give you some antibiotics.” But she didn’t and two days later I was deathly ill and 3 days later I was back at UW Hospital with a 105-degree fever and a spreading staph infection in my groin.

The infection was removed, leaving a gaping hole in my groin. A 28 square inch skin graft was then taken off my thigh a few days later, to cover the hole. Once the hole was patched, it would not stop bleeding because I was on blood thinners. I had a morphine pump in my arm, and was receiving blood transfusions and several kinds of the strongest antibiotics available as well. Then, a small leak was discovered at the replacement valve. Worries were expressed the valve was infected and might need to be replaced in yet another surgery. In short, it was the worst experience of my life. I was sick from the morphine and I thought I had reached the end.

But I hung on and fought. I put up with indifferent, occasionally even mean staff members, some who didn’t seem to care whether I made it or not. There were a lot of good caregivers too, but the bad ones deepened my despair.

To make matters worse, Princess Diana’s accident and aftermath was the only thing on television.

I went 9 days without cannabis in the face of a fight for my life. Finally, on Day 10, a kind friend delivered a roll with some sautéed cannabis. The following day another friend brought me a “Leary Biscuit” click here. Having my medicine again really helped speed my recovery. I was ready for the next step after yet another cannabis angel brought me a couple joints.

So, on the 11th day, armed with a joint and lighter in the pocket of my ratty hospital issue robe, over my ratty hospital pajamas, I took the elevator down to the hospital lobby and mailed a letter at the mailbox outside, found a suitable niche, then lit up one of joints.

The cannabis was average, but medicinal nonetheless. The joint itself transcended cannabis. It was freedom rolled up in a paper. Things were starting to look better. I was feeling stronger. I was going to make it! On the 13th day, I was released and began the long recovery at home.

And somehow, taking it day by day and with the help of medical cannabis, I have managed to hang on another 10 years!

Posted by Gary at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)