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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 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2009

OPED: Sen. Jon Erpenbach D-WaunakeeTime to consider medical marijuana

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, October 26, 2009

An OPED about the Jacki Rickert MMJ Act from the JRMMMA's Senate sponsor, Sen. Jon Erpenbach.

Source: Monroe Times
Pubdate: Saturday, October 24, 2009
Author: Sen. Jon Erpenbach D-Waunakee

SEN. JON ERPENBACH: TIME TO CONSIDER MEDICAL MARIJUANA

To see a loved one or friend in pain and to watch them struggle at the end of their life or from harsh treatments like chemotherapy is terrible. You watch the person you love disappear. To find peace and free them of pain is all that you hope for; for some people that relief could come as prescribed medical marijuana.

With all of the extraordinary advances of medicine and all of the life-saving techniques we have, sometimes relief can be as simple as marijuana - currently a regulated illegal drug in Wisconsin. I am co-authoring the Jackie Rickert Medical Marijuana Act this session in the hope that this medical option can be available to all Wisconsin patients who need it. Drafted based on the Michigan medical marijuana bill that passed by statewide referendum, this bill simply gives patients and their doctors an option to consider marijuana without fear of prosecution. The Michigan referendum passed in all 83 counties, with a 63 percent majority statewide.

This is an issue where the public has been far ahead of policy makers. Polling in Wisconsin has shown consistent support for medical marijuana, most recently reaching above 75 percent approval. In the seven states where medical marijuana was added as a ballot initiative, it passed in each state with a wide margin. As we work to address comprehensive health care reform, consideration should be given to the benefits of medical marijuana for patients with a debilitating medical condition.

The bill provides a medical necessity defense for marijuana-related prosecutions and property seizure if the patient has a valid prescription from their physician and an ID card from Department of Health Services. Conditions covered could include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and HIV, and diseases as determined by administrative rule. The bill also creates a maximum amount of marijuana a patient may have, establishing clear limits for both the patient and law enforcement. If someone who is prescribed marijuana commits a crime, like operating a vehicle under the influence, they cannot use the defense created in this bill; they still have to follow Wisconsin laws. Finally, the bill gives the state Department of Health the ability to create rules for a registry of people allowed to use medical marijuana and for the licensing and regulation of a nonprofit corporation to distribute marijuana.

Recently, President Obama said that the federal law enforcement will follow the laws of the states regarding medical marijuana. Currently, there are 13 states where medical marijuana is legal and another 14 states where legislation is pending. Clearly the public pendulum on this issue is in support. That support, however, is not the only reason why the Wisconsin Legislature should act to make medical marijuana legal; we should act because it is simply the right thing to do for patients in pain.

Our friends and family deserve all medicinal options available when they struggle with disease and the therapy we have created to kill disease. Please contact my office for additional information on the Jackie Rickert Medical Marijuana Act at (888) 549-0027 or (608) 266-6670 or via e-mail at sen.erpenbach@legis.wi.gov.

- Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, serves the 27th Senate District.

Posted by Gary at 10:45 PM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2009

RIP Mary Powers, 1959-2009: A Wisconsin Medical Cannabis Hero

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, October 24, 2009

With her family notified, I can now report that my dear friend Mary Powers, a disabled US Army veteran, and medical cannabis patient/lobbyist extraordinaire, passed on peacefully at home last night. Mary was a true hero who tirelessly lobbied for medical cannabis for WI patients even as her cancer, AIDS and Hepatitis C progressed and ended her life. Mary knew the Jacki Rickert MMJ Act would not be passed in her lifetime, but heroically devoted the little time she had left to lobby week after week. Fortunately many of her exploits are memorialized in 7 episodes of the Mary and Gary Show and an episode of the Mary and Jacki Show. Watch all 8 below!

mary4.jpg
Mary at the Vigil at the Capitol on June 7, 2009.

Mary was also the Secretary of Madison NORML and a board member. Mary was known for attending every meeting, whether she had chemo or radiation that day or how bad she felt. Mary's mission. Her humor and compassion made her a beloved friend of many, and all who met her were touched by her spirit. She was also the founder, executive director and legislative director of the Wisconsin chapter of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access (VMMA). Unfortunately, she had only just started and had so far been unable to find other veterans to join her in building the group. We certainly hope some WI veterans will step forward to complete her mission, in light of the important aspects for vets in the JRMMA..

The Mary and Jacki Show. This was the last time Mary spoke, and her last Harvest Fest speech, from Sun. 10/04/09.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7


Posted by Gary at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2009

Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act: Where we are at

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, October 23, 2009

The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act has had a great week, with the new Obama Administration policy on state medical cannabis programs announced on Monday and Gov. Doyle's widely reported support of medical marijuana on Wednesday. Below is an update on where things are and where they are headed next.

Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act: Where we are at

Oct. 22, cosponsorship closed at 5pm

What happens next?

The bill will be sent to the Assembly Clerk’s office for introduction and a bill number, and the Assembly Speaker will then assign it to a committee.

What supporters can do:

Please continue to contact your Wisconsin State Assembly Representatives and State Senators and ask that they vote for the JRMMA if it is assigned to their committee, and when it gets a floor vote.

WRITE:
Send pre-written, editable letter to Legislators: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=14115736
or http://bit.ly/JRMMA

Call, Call, Call:
Toll-free Legislative Hotline: 1-800-362-9472
Who Are My Legislators? http://www.legis.state.wi.us/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx

Get Involved and Donate Your Time or Money:

Spread The Word:
Updated Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act Fliers: http://bit.ly/JRMMAfliers

Meet:
Madison NORML: 2nd and 4th Mondays at 7pm see: MadisonNORML.org or WINORML.org for more info on location.
Milwaukee Area NORML: Meets 2nd and 4th Tuesdays: See WINORML.org for more info.

DONATE:
Any donation over $12 will get a free Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act pin. Any donation over $50 will get a free shirt.






Or send a check or money order to Madison NORML, PO Box 3132, Madison, WI 53704-0132.

More info: IMMLY.org - WINORML.org - MadisonNORML.org

Posted by Gary at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2009

Shepherd-Express: Medical Marijuana Advocates Won't Wait

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, October 22, 2009

A great article from Lisa Kaiser and Milwaukee's Shepherd-Express!

Source: Shepherd-Express
Pubdate: Oct. 22, 2009
Author: Lisa Kaiser
News & Views » Page 7

MEDICAL MARIJUANA ADVOCATES WON'T WAIT

Wisconsin could legalize pot for chronically ill people

In November 2008, 63% of Michigan voters made medical marijuana legal in that state-a significant victory, when you consider that the ballot measure won in each and every county and generated more support than Barack Obama.

More tellingly, that robust majority of voters approved a measure that the Michigan Legislature had previously rejected.

Since the program's implementation this spring, more than 6,000 Michigan residents have signed up for the program, either as a patient or a caregiver. Patients obtain a recommendation from their doctor, pay $100 (or $25, if the patient lives below the poverty line) for a state-issued ID card, and can purchase marijuana from a state-licensed dealer or grow his or her own plants (up to 12 per patient).

Tim Beck, head of the Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access, said that there's been no "reefer madness"-style chaos or corruption of kids. Instead, the program has allowed seriously ill Michigan residents to safely access medicine that had formerly been driven underground.

"It has been a godsend," Beck said.

The People Are Ahead of Their Politicians

Wisconsin residents, though, aren't that fortunate, even though credible polling shows that 80% support implementing a medical marijuana program in this state.

"It's more popular than any politician," said Gary Storck, president of the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

But Wisconsin voters don't have the ability to enact a medical marijuana law via a voter referendum, as Michigan residents did. That can be done at the local level, creating a patchwork of programs. Or an advisory referendum can be placed on a statewide ballot, but that would not necessarily lead to legislation.

Wisconsin voters can approve amendments to the state Constitu tion, however, but that would require having the question approved by two consecutive sessions of the state Legislature before it could be put on the ballot.

Storck said seriously or terminally ill patients who need immediate relief can't wait another two years.

"They just don't have that time," he said. That's why medical marijuana advocates are pushing hard for the passage of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, sponsored by state Rep. Mark Pocan (D- Madison) in the state Assembly and state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) in the state Senate.

The legislation is based on Michigan's model, and would strictly regulate who could legally obtain or provide medical marijuana within the state. Patients with debilitating medical conditions-such as cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or HIV, seizures, severe pain or nausea- could participate in the program with a doctor's approval and payment of up to $150 for the state registry and an ID card.

"I've heard from people in my district and around the state that when they are dealing with their cancer or MS or glaucoma, the only bit of relief that they find from their chemo or their illness is marijuana," said Erpenbach, who chairs the Senate Health Committee. "It's something the medical community is a little mixed on, but [medical marijuana] helps to ease the pain, and the state shouldn't stand in the way or make someone a criminal if they're looking to it for medical reasons."

Despite strong public support, previous versions of the bill have died in committee, and were opposed by the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association (but supported by the Wisconsin Nurses Association). "This is one of those issues where the people are clearly way ahead of their legislators," Pocan said.

Advocates are hoping that with Democrats controlling both houses of the Legislature and the governor's office, they'll get more support than they did when Republicans controlled at least one house of the state Legislature.

Jeff Peterson, head of the Milwaukee area chapter of NORML, said state lawmakers must pass this bill simply because it's the humane thing to do for seriously ill people with chronic pain.

"I have great anger that people are being denied the use of something that could help them," Peterson said.

A Green Economy

While Wisconsin doesn't have a medical marijuana law on the books it falls further behind popular opinion and advanced programs in other states. Even the Obama administration announced that it would respect state laws regarding medical marijuana. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the administration would stop using federal resources to prosecute seriously ill patients and their caregivers.

Fourteen states have legal, regulated medical marijuana programs, and advocates in another dozen are trying to launch programs. California voters were the first in the nation to approve medical marijuana, in 1996, with 56% support. Voter initiatives then passed in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, while programs were approved by state lawmakers in Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont. The legislative measures, like the voter referendums, usually win by a wide margin.

California, not surprisingly, has the most developed medical marijuana program, with an estimated 400,000 patients, and a flourishing "cannabusiness" that includes 2,100 dispensaries, co-ops, clinics and delivery services.

California medical marijuana patients can choose from specific strains of pot that are best able to address their illness, as well as cannabis-infused pastry, cooking oil, skin cream, soap, lozenges, lollipops, capsules and tinctures.

"It's a good, green business that provides jobs," NORML's Storck said.

Now comfortable with the program, California residents and lawmakers are moving toward making medical marijuana part of the state's economy.

After approval by 80% of city voters, Oakland now taxes sales of marijuana at dispensaries, which will bring in an estimated $400,000 to $500,000 in its first year.

There's also a proposal to tax marijuana throughout California, much like it taxes alcohol, which would generate up to $1.3 billion in taxes annually for that cashstrapped state.

In fact, when you crunch the numbers, legalization and taxation of marijuana makes sense during an economic downturn. Legalization of pot nationwide would generate about $7 billion in taxes and decrease law enforcement costs by $13.5 billion, according to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron.

While Congress is unlikely to decriminalize marijuana anytime soon, the voters seem to be in favor of it. A Zogby poll of voters in May found that 52% supported treating marijuana as a legal, taxed, regulated substance, with 37% opposed.

While Wisconsin may be a long way from legalizing pot for all adults, Erpenbach said he is hopeful about the medical marijuana bill's prospects in the state Legislature.

"The people of this state are compassionate," Erpenbach said.

Comment on this article at ExpressMilwaukee.com.

Posted by Gary at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2009

IMMLY RELEASE: New Federal Guidelines On State Medical Marijuana Programs Clears Way For Jacki Rickert Mmj Act In Wisconsin

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, October 19, 2009

Below is IMMLY's press release regarding the historic change in federal policy towards state medical cannabis programs by the Obama Administration.

For immediate release: Monday, October 19, 2009

NEW FEDERAL GUIDELINES ON STATE MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAMS CLEARS WAY FOR JACKI RICKERT MMJ ACT IN WISCONSIN

The Obama Administration's historic, newly announced "hands-off" policy on state medical marijuana programs is another reason to pass the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (JRMMA) in Wisconsin's legislature this session. These new USDOJ guidelines combined with an earlier US Supreme Court decision rejecting a challenge to state mmj laws have erased federal interference as a threat to state medical cannabis programs.

This decision should be more reason for state lawmakers to join bill sponsors Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Waunakee) in cosponsoring the JRMMA, which is pending introduction.

IMMLY Founder Jacki Rickert, namesake of the JRMMA, had this to say, "I'm still in shock. President Obama obviously understands that prosecuting medical cannabis patients and providers acting legally under state laws should not be a federal law enforcement priority. State lawmakers should recognize that the conflict with federal law is no longer an issue, and move quickly to protect Wisconsin patients who can benefit."

Is My Medicine Legal YET? is a Mondovi and Madison based grass roots patient and caregiver based organization dedicated to advancing public education about the medicinal benefits of marijuana. For further information contact Jacki Rickert at 715.926.4950 or Gary Storck at 608.241.8922 or visit the IMMLY website at www.immly.org.

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Posted by Gary at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2009

Ask your Wisconsin State Legislators to Cosponsor the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act: Deadline is 5pm Thursday Oct. 22!

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Next Thursday at 5:00pm is the deadline for Wisconsin State Legislators to cosponsor Rep. Mark Pocan and Sen. Jon Erpenbach's LRB 2517, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act. While polling finds overwhelming support among state residents, this support must be conveyed to State Assembly Representatives and State Senators for the support to have an impact. Please take a few moments today to send a message and or make a call so Wisconsin's sick and dying have legal access to medical cannabis like the people of 13 other US states including our neighbors in Michigan.

Ask your Wisconsin State Legislators to Cosponsor the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act: Deadline is 5pm Thursday Oct. 22!

The deadline for Wisconsin State Assembly Representatives and State Senators to sign on to the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (JRMMA) is fast approaching! Now is the time to contact them and ask them to do so.

It is important that the JRMMA be introduced with strong legislative support. While an overwhelming majority of state residents support legal access to medical cannabis with their doctor's support, the legislature needs to catch up, and the only way they will do that is by hearing from their constituents.

Click and send a prewritten letter: (http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=14115736) Shortened Link: http://bit.ly/JRMMA

Find out who your state legislators are and give them a call and leave a message of support: "Who Are My Legislators?" (http://www.legis.state.wi.us/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx)

Please help pass the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act! Your efforts now will help sick and dying patients who can benefit. Please be a voice for people in pain by making a call and sending a message TODAY!


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

October 12, 2009

Wisconsin Public Radio: Wisconsin Medical marijuana bill proposed; based on Michigan law

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, October 12, 2009

Here is a report from WI Public Radio regarding the Jacki Rickert MMJ Act.

Wisconsin Medical marijuana bill proposed; based on Michigan law
Source: Fox 21 click here
Mon, 10/12/2009 - 1:39pm

By Brian Bull, Wisconsin Public Radio

MADISON (WPR) New legislation for legalizing medical marijuana is being drafted in the Wisconsin legislature. Sponsors say this latest bill will be based on a medical cannabis law recently approved by Michigan voters.

Last year, about two-thirds of Michigan voters approved the legalization of marijuana for severely ill patients. That inspired State Representative Mark Pocan and State Senator Jon Erpenbach to push – again-- for legalized medical marijuana in Wisconsin. Erpenbach says Michigan’s law gives credibility to their cause. Erpenbach says the proposal will be tailored to Wisconsin, with a doctor’s prescription needed. A non-profit corporation has also been proposed to dispense and distribute marijuana.

The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act is named for a 58-year-old Mondovi resident with several chronic ailments affecting her bones and joints. Jacki Rickert says she’s been on cannabis therapy since the 1990s, and it’s helped her endure both pain and nausea. At first, Rickert says her daughter carried her from room to room and she was told, “If we don’t get weight on you, you will die”. Rickert, who once weighed 68 pounds is now up to 94 pounds.

The bill also now includes PTSD as a qualifying condition. If passed, Wisconsin would become the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana. Opponents say patients are best helped with tested and approved drugs that are already legal.

--

Information from Wisconsin Public Radio, www.wpr.org

Posted by Gary at 03:28 PM | Comments (1)

October 11, 2009

Updated Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act Flier

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, October 12, 2009

Below is a link to the updated Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act flier reflecting the addition of State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) as Senate lead sponsor, and with the link to send a prewritten letter asking legislators to cosponsor..

Download file

Posted by Gary at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2009

The Mary and Gary Show: Episode Seven

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, October 8, 2009

Here is our report on Wednesday's lobbying at the WI State Capitol.

Posted by Gary at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2009

Badger Herald: Bill may legalize medicinal weed

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Here is an article about the Jacki Rickert MMJ Act.

Source: Badger Herald click here
Pubdate: Sept. 7, 2009
Author: Ryan Rainey

BILL MAY LEGALIZE MEDICINAL WEED

Co-authored by 2 Wisconsin lawmakers, legislation follows lead of 14 other states

After last weekend's Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival protest on the Capitol steps brought attention to the issue of medical marijuana, two Wisconsin Democrats have proposed legislation that would legalize cannabis for medical purposes in the state.

According to a statement from advocacy group Is My Medicine Legal Yet?, Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, are the co-authors of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, which if passed would allow terminally or seriously ill patients to grow or have someone else grow a small amount of cannabis for medical use.

Rickert is a Mondovi, Wis., citizen suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome who was never given federal government-issued joints for medical use, according to the statement.

Michigan voters approved a similar initiative in a statewide referendum, which is the basis for the Wisconsin bill, said Gary Storck, spokesperson for IMMLY. The bill is the early stages of development, currently gaining co-sponsorships from Wisconsin senators and representatives.

Storck said the legislation covers a broad base of debilitating illnesses and he named post-traumatic stress disorder as a prominent target of the bill.

"It's been known for many years that cannabis is a potent remedy for the symptoms of PTSD," Storck said. "It helps them sleep and wean themselves off of alcohol and other substances that may be preventing them from readjusting."

Storck said he hopes the inclusion of PTSD as a debilitating condition will compel the state Legislature to give more consideration to the bill. He also said medical marijuana dispensaries more tightly regulated than those found in California would be allowed for patients with a state-issued ID card.

Storck also cited President Barack Obama's administration's decision not to interfere with state-sponsored cannabis dispensaries, an overridden veto in Rhode Island allowing dispensaries and the lack of hostility from Wisconsin citizens and legislators as factors that have made the issue more mainstream.

According to Erpenbach spokesperson Julie Laundrie, the issue has become more legitimate around the country in the past years; 13 states now allow the use of medical marijuana and 14 states currently have medical marijuana legislation pending.

Laundrie also said she believes the issue of medical marijuana will go beyond partisan politics.

"Mostly, people who would be using medical marijuana would be at the end of life or in very dire situations," Laundrie said. "Everyone knows someone that has really struggled when they were dying or when they were in treatment that was really painful or awful for them. I don't think that has anything to do with party lines."

Since the bill is still in its preliminary stages, it is difficult to measure Republican support or opposition to the bill. However, Kimber Liedl, spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the legalization of marijuana should not be allowed, even under medical circumstances.

"The addictive and dangerous nature of the drug outweighs its benefits," Liedl said. "It's not high on the legislative agenda for this session. Other initiatives such as drunken driving legislation hold a greater priority than the legalization of marijuana."


Posted by Gary at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2009

IMMLY RELEASE: Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act Offers Wisconsin Patients Hope For Life With Dignity

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Here is the Is My Medicine Legal YET? release about the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act!

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 06, 2009

JACKI RICKERT MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT OFFERS WISCONSIN PATIENTS HOPE FOR LIFE WITH DIGNITY

Madison/Mondovi - Is My Medicine Legal YET? is proud to announce that LRB 2517, The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), is now being circulated among legislators for cosponsors.

The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act is based on Michigan's medical cannabis law, which was passed by state voters in Nov. 2008 with 63% support, gaining a majority in every Michigan County. Another provision creates a system of state regulated dispensaries based on a recently enacted Rhode Island law. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also included as a qualifying condition for the program. Iraq and Afghani.war vets have been returning home in record numbers suffering from PTSD, and medical cannabis has long been a safe and natural remedy.

IMMLY Founder Jacki Rickert is the namesake of the bill. Rickert, a seriously ill Mondovi resident who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and advanced reflex sympathetic dystrophy, was once approved for, but never supplied by, a federal program that still provides 4 living Americans with 300 pre=rolled marijuana cigarettes each month, "This bill, this time", Rickert says, "80% of the people in Wisconsin agree marijuana should be available for medical use in this state."

IMMLY director of communications Gary Storck, who along with terminally ill disabled vet Mary Powers has been leading weekly delegations of medical cannabis patients to Capitol offices to educate about the bill, will be back at the Capitol with Powers Wednesday. "Wisconsin residents overwhelmingly support physician-approved medical cannabis access. It's time to do the right thing for state patients who can benefit."

Is My Medicine Legal YET? is a Mondovi and Madison based grass roots patient and caregiver based organization dedicated to advancing public education about the medicinal benefits of marijuana. For further information contact Jacki Rickert at 715.926.4950 or Gary Storck at 608.241.8922 or visit the IMMLY website at www.immly.org.

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Posted by Gary at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2009

The MARY and JACKI show Live from Harvest Fest!

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, October 5, 2009

IMMLY Founder and WI medical cannabis patient/advocate mmj bill namesake Jacki Rickert and "Mary and Gary Show" star, medical cannabis patient activist Mary Powers speak at Harvest Fest 39, on Library Mall, before the 2009 parade to the Capitol on Sun. 10/04/09.

Posted by Gary at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2009

Wisconsin State Journal: Medical marijuana supporters rally at Capitol

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, October 4, 2009

Despite chilly winds that made 50 degree temps feel colder, nearly 2000 people paraded up State St. for the finale of HF 39, with many sticking around to hear speeches from Jackli Rickert, Ben Masel, Jim Miller, myself and other advocates and hot tunes from local rockers Baghdad Scuba Review.

Particularly moving was a courageous speech by an Iraq combat vet who discussed how cannabis relieved his intense post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. PTSD is one of the debilitating conditions included in the Jacki Rickert MMJ Act.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal: click here

Medical marijuana supporters rally at Capitol

By SANDY CULLEN

Sunday, October 4, 2009 7:40 pm

Hundreds of medical marijuana supporters rallied Sunday at the State Capitol for legislation that would make Wisconsin the 14th state to legalize cannabis for treatment of debilitating illnesses.

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, are co-sponsors of the newly drafted Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, which would protect Wisconsin patients from arrest and prosecution and allow them or a designated caregiver to possess and grow a small amount of cannabis for medical use, said Gary Storck, communications director for the nonprofit advocacy organization Is My Medicine Legal YET?

"It is time that we address medical marijuana as an issue of providing comprehensive health care to all people," Pocan and Erpenbach said in a memo to legislators. "The patient and their doctor should have as many options as possible available when treating a patient's medical condition."

Rickert, a 58-year-old grandmother from Mondovi who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and advanced reflex sympathetic dystrophy, founded IMMLY in 1992. In 1997, she led a 210-mile trek of patients in wheelchairs from Mondovi to Madison to advocate for legal access to marijuana.

Rickert said she began using marijuana to stimulate her appetite after dropping to 68 pounds. "I'm alive because of cannabis," said Rickert, who now calls herself "a heavyweight" at 93 pounds.

"It's got to be this bill, this time," Rickert told supporters Sunday, saying that every time someone else signs on in support of medical marijuana, "It's like saying, 'More hope.'"

Storck, who has been advocating for medical marijuana for decades, said cannabis has helped him retain his eyesight, which he began losing from glaucoma as a child. He agreed that the time for passing legislation could be now or never. "Gov. Doyle has been willing to sign it all along," he said, adding, "The legislature has never been in a position to pass it until now."

Storck said that while there is a lot of support for the legislation from people throughout the state, "We need them to step forward and let their legislators know it."

The act is based on a Michigan law passed by voters in November 2008, Storck said. It also includes provisions from a Rhode Island law that would allow patients to obtain medical marijuana from dispensaries if they cannot grow it themselves.


Posted by Gary at 08:01 PM | Comments (1)