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February 18, 2010

UW: Platteville Exponent: Column: Medical marijuana offers relief

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, February 18, 2010

A very nice column out of UW: Platteville!

Source: Exponent (UW-Platteville EDU)
Pubdate: February 18, 2010
Author: Ryan Broege

COLUMN: MEDICAL MARIJUANA OFFERS RELIEF

Gary Storck endures pain on a daily basis. Storck was born with Noonan's syndrome and has had multiple open-heart surgeries to address the heart problems that come with that condition. Storck also suffers from glaucoma, and his intraocular pressure often reaches 40, twice the highest limit of the normal range. In addition, he battles post-traumatic stress disorder. After only a brief inventory of Storck's medical background, one might expect him to curse the hand he was dealt.

But that is not how Storck views himself. "I consider myself a medical miracle," he said. "I can find relief for my glaucoma, heart conditions and anxiety all in one medication. I am living research."

The medication that Storck is speaking of is marijuana. And despite the relief that it offers him, Storck is technically committing a criminal act whenever he self-medicates with cannabis. That has the potential to change, however. Wisconsin Assembly bill 554 and Senate bill 368 are both pending in committee; the bills, identical in wording, would enable residents of the state suffering from serious medical conditions, including cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease, glaucoma and other medical conditions that cause severe pain, seizures, wasting away and muscle spasms to possess and use marijuana for relief. People with these conditions would obtain a registry card with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, entitling them to possess up to three ounces for personal use.

A unique set of circumstances in Madison means that this bill has a slightly higher chance of passing into law. Democrats, who generally support medicinal marijuana use, have a majority in both the senate and assembly. Supporters of medicinal marijuana also have an ally in Governor Doyle, who has vowed to sign the bill into law if he is given the opportunity.

Locally, the bill has support from Platteville's representative in the Assembly, Democrat Phil Garthwaite. "For me the big issue is how people deal with pain," said Garthwaite. "We let doctors prescribe things far more dangerous than marijuana."

Platteville's representative in the state Senate, Republican Dale Schultz, could not be reached for comment regarding the bill.

In an e-mail correspondence, Thomas Caywood, chair of UW-Platteville's department of criminal justice, expressed his support for the measure. In response to state Attorney General Van Hollen's remarks that the bill would make things difficult for law enforcement trying to enforce current drug law, Caywood wrote, "Other states already have similar laws on the books. There are a number of medical benefits for prescribing marijuana. The most logical route would be to treat it just like other controlled drugs dispensed by a pharmacy only with a doctor's prescription."

And that is exactly what this bill would do. This bill is not a referendum on recreational drug use; this bill is a referendum on compassion for the sick. Every day, there are people who suffer debilitating conditions that make their lives a hellish existence. Who would deny them every available option to relieve their pain? Take a few minutes out of your day and let's make medicinal marijuana a legal and viable option for people suffering in Wisconsin. Call the legislative hot line at 1-800-362-9472 and express your support for the measures.

Posted by Gary at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2010

Madison NORML Examiner: The name behind Wisconsin’s Medical Marijuana Legislation: Who is Jacki Rickert? Part One

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, February 14, 2010

Here is my latest Madison NORML Examiner article, the first installment of a series about Jacki Rickert.

The name behind Wisconsin’s Medical Marijuana Legislation: Who is Jacki Rickert? Part One

Madison NORML Examiner: The name behind Wisconsin’s Medical Marijuana Legislation: Who is Jacki Rickert? Part One

MADISON: Many people in Wisconsin are aware there is medical marijuana legislation now before the State Legislature. AB554/SB368, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (JRMMA) is sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Waunakee).

But just who is Jacki Rickert?

Jacki Rickert is a 58 year old Wisconsin grandmother and medical cannabis patient/activist and the Founder and Executive Director of Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY). Jacki discovered that cannabis provided unique relief for symptoms of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) she is afflicted with. EDS is a rare genetic disorder that attacks the body’s connective tissues. Jacki also suffers from another extremely painful condition, Advanced Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

Jacki first began experiencing EDS symptoms like joint dislocations as an active teenager involved in gymnastics and training horses. Around 1981 Jacki met Dr. William E. Wright of Mondovi Wisconsin, a compassionate and courageous physician who diligently searched for treatments to alleviate her suffering. After Jacki asked if he would consider cannabis therapy, Dr. Wright consulted experts and immersed himself in the available literature. He concluded that it not only helped but was safer than "anything she was on including baby aspirin".

In 2001, Jacki described how she discovered cannabis helped:

As a result of having a chronic, intractable medical condition (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) that causes severe pain, joints that sublux, or dislocate, loss of muscle mass etc., someone suggested I try marijuana (Cannabis) to help lessen the pain, and muscle spasms.

At first, I dismissed such a thought- but later- when I could no longer handle the pain from a dislocated shoulder that the Dr. could not reduce, I tried it - this time it worked!

In 1989, Dr. Wright began filing paperwork with the requisite federal agencies to get Jacki into the federal government's Compassionate Investigative New Drug (IND) Program. Although federal red tape made the process very difficult literally every step of the way, Dr. Wright's persistence and heroic determination to help his patient finally paid off. In 1990 Jacki was approved for not only research but also compassionate use of medical cannabis by federal authorities. She was to receive 300 pre-rolled U.S. government supplied medical cannabis cigarettes, each weighing 0.9 gram every 28-30 days.

Jacki explained it in a 2001 email:

Years later, I was diagnosed with an advanced form of RSD. My weight plummeted to a mere 68 lbs. My body wracked with more problems, more pain, and massive muscle loss. My daughter literally carried me from my bed to the bathroom. No matter how much I tried, my limbs locked up like the tin man without his oil can.

At 68 lbs. my Physician applied to the Government for the Compassionate I.N.D. & Research I.N.D program, and WAS approved and granted a Schedule I License. He was APPROVED in Dec. of 1990...yet the contract was never honored.

The First Bush Administration later suspended and then closed the program, but Jacki had already been approved. Federal bureaucrats told Jacki her prescription would be filled once they had additional supplies, "as they were in the process of growing more material." A federal employee later confessed to Jacki, "I must tell you the truth about your medicine: We are not out, nor were we out, nor do I see us running out anytime in the foreeable future":

Jacki and her daughter even appealed to Bill Clinton as he and Al Gore made a campaign stop in Osseo Wisconsin in 1992. Jacki handed Clinton a large folder of federal approval documents which he vowed to read, "as soon as I get on that bus". More importantly, Clinton also told her as to her medicine nor being supplied, "Why that;s just terrible! If elected, I'll make sure within the first 90 days after taking office that's made right."

His HHS Secretary-designate UW Chancellor Donna Shalala promised before leaving Madison to help Jacki get her medicine. Once in Washington, Shalala flip-flopped against medical cannabis. Attempts by Jacki's Republican U.S. Congressman Steve Gunderson were also rebuffed. In 1993, tragedy struck when Dr. Wright suddenly died of a heart attack, and Jacki was back to square one in her quest for her medicine.

Jacki Rickert will be speaking at "A Grassroots Evening" Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 at the University of Wisconsin: Waukesha at 7pm in Room N133.

For more info: List of qualifying medical conditions included in the JRMMA. Jacki Rickert MMJ Act Hearing Recap & Action Alert. Report on Jan. 20 Mary Powers Memorial and JRMMA Lobby Day. For additional details on the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, info on the Dec. 15, 2010 combined Health committee hearing, bill text and status, how to donate, all the latest news and how you can help, visit JRMMA.org, IMMLY.org or MadisonNORML.org. Visit my Madison NORML Examiner articles archive. Photos courtesy IMMLY/WI NORML and friends.

Full article with Links and photos. (http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-30194-Madison-NORML-Examiner~y2010m2d14-The-name-behind-Wisconsins-Medical-Marijuana-Legislation-Who-is-Jacki-Rickert-Part-One)


Posted by Gary at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2010

Gary Storck: Capital Times: PUB LTE: Tell legislators to pass medical marijuana act

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, February 12, 2010

Here's a let ter in today's Capital Times! As the letter notes, please Call or write your legislators regarding the JRMMA!

Source: Capital Times
Pubdate: February 12, 2010
Author: Gary Storck

TELL LEGISLATORS TO PASS MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT

Dear Editor: The grass-roots advocacy campaign for medical marijuana in Wisconsin has ignited a firestorm of interest in how state government works. Thousands and thousands of state residents are learning for the first time who represents them because of the popularity of this issue.

A recent ABC news poll found that nationwide, 81 percent of Americans, and 75 percent of Republicans, want medical marijuana legalized.

The question remains, however, will our Legislature listen to the will of the people? To their credit, many state lawmakers have already signaled they will vote for the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act. However, the lack of bipartisan support for a decidedly nonpartisan issue is sad.

In neighboring Minnesota, a bipartisan bill won legislative approval only to be vetoed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Here in Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle has promised to sign a bill if it reaches his desk. Wisconsinites cannot let this historic time pass without our Legislature acting on behalf of Wisconsin's citizens. State lawmakers know how popular this issue is. They only need to look at their office constituent contact logs or recall all the personal conversations in support they've had with people of all backgrounds.

Medical marijuana affects us all. We must each work so this option is available if the unthinkable happens to a loved one, a friend or ourselves. If doctors are allowed to prescribe toxic medications and treatments with dangerous, even potentially lethal side effects, why can't they recommend a natural plant that has compounds which work by binding to receptors within our body's own endocannabinoid system? Please contact your lawmakers via the toll-free Legislative Hotline: 800-362-9472 and ask them to support this bill.

Gary Storck

director of communications, Is My Medicine Legal YET?

www.immly.org

Posted by Gary at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2010

Fox 11 Green Bay report on T.H.C. "Talking Hemp and Cannabis" expo in Berlin WI Feb 6, 2010.

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, February 6, 2010

The T.H.C. "Talking Hemp & Cannabis" expo drew dozens to the Berlin WI Public Library today. Below is a disappointing report from Fox11 in Green Bay, which had great footage of Jacki and me, but left most of it out in favor of some opponent with an illogical opposition to protecting the sick and dying from arrest and jail for treating themselves with a non-toxic plant.

Medical marijuana dispute

Updated: Saturday, 06 Feb 2010, 5:47 PM CST
Published : Saturday, 06 Feb 2010, 5:16 PM CST
(http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/medical-marijuana-debate)
* Kristin Crowley

Some area people are fighting to legalize medical marijuana.

Supporters of medical marijuana in Wisconsin are working to educate the public on its benefits. Some say it's a life saver.

“My doctor told me if you can't gain weight, if your body's not accepting the nutrients,” said Jacki Rickert. “He just looked at me and said you will die.”

Rickert founded the group "Is My Medicine Legal Yet?" or IMMLY. She said her body's inability to take on nutrients from food is helped with marijuana.

“This is medicine, we're talking about health care,” said Rickert.

In October, Wisconsin state senators introduced senate bill 368 to legalize medical marijuana. The people at a medical marijuana expo in Berlin are all for it, but not everyone in the area is.

“I think it opens up the floodgates to worse things, and I'm just, I'm not for it,” said resident Bill Brooks.

Some worry usage would get out of control, that it wouldn't be used for just treating the ill and that it could easily fall into the wrong hands.

“If it would pass, I'd be concerned about that. Like I said, it just opens up the gates for more things to happen,” said Brooks.

“People are already using it left and right,” said IMMLY member Gary Storck.

Storck said he relies on marijuana for his glaucoma and chronic pain. Since he can't obtain it legally, he must go through the black market, which he said is even more dangerous than just legalizing the drug.

“It makes it more expensive and it means that you might get cannabis of uncertain quality or it may be moldy,” said Storck.

The bill is in review, but there is no certainty when or if the bill will be voted on

Posted by Gary at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)