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Feature: Wisconsin Medical Marijuana Bill to Be Introduced

Ten years ago Tuesday, Wisconsin medical marijuana patient Jacki Rickert led a 210-mile trek of wheelchair-bound patients to the state capitol in Madison in a "Journey for Justice" seeking legal access to the medicine they said made their lives bearable. This Tuesday, Rickert commemorated that anniversary with a press conference at the capitol, where she was joined by two state representatives who announced they would introduce a medical marijuana bill this session. They are calling it the "Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act."

With a history of failed medical marijuana bills in the state and a legislature with one house controlled by Republicans, proponents are not predicting certain victory this session, but they do say they will give it their best shot.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/barroffice.jpg
Jacki Rickert and Gary Storck, with Jim and the late Cheryl Miller, outside former Rep. Bob Barr's office (immly.org)
While medical marijuana is legal in 12 states, a victory in Wisconsin would be the first in the Midwest. But Wisconsin will have to hustle to be the first; legislative efforts have already advanced in Illinois and Minnesota, and Michigan looks to be set for a statewide initiative in November 2008.

If Reps. Frank Boyle (D-Superior) and Mark Pocan (D-Madison) have their way, Wisconsin will be in the thick of the race. "We want to make sure that this is the year Wisconsin gets it," Boyle said at the Tuesday press conference. "Twelve states have now legalized medical marijuana, and I'm sick and tired of the state of Wisconsin dying a most regressive death in what used to be progressive tradition."

While the measure is still in the drafting stage, according to a cosponsoring memo being circulated by Boyle and Pocan, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act's key provisions include the following:

  • Provide a medical necessity defense to marijuana-related prosecutions and property seizure actions. A person may evoke this defense if they are undergoing a debilitating medical condition or treatment and have written consent from their physician or obtained a valid registry ID card from the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS). Conditions include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or HIV, diseases that cause wasting away, severe pain or nausea, seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, and any other medical condition or treatment in rules promulgated by DHFS.
  • Create a maximum authorized amount of marijuana a patient may have, thus establishing clear limits for both patients and law enforcement officials.
  • Prohibit the arrest of a physician who provides a written certification in good faith. Also, the primary caregiver is protected by the same exceptions under the law.
  • The defense may not be applicable if the patient performs an illegal act while using marijuana. This includes driving or operating a motor vehicle, operating heavy machinery, smoking near a school, park or youth center, at a person's employment, etc.
  • Require DHFS to establish a registry for medical users of marijuana and an ID card to a qualifying patient.
  • This bill only changes state law regarding marijuana. Federal law on marijuana does not change. However, 99% of marijuana arrests are made by state and local officials, not federal officials.

"If someone has the written consent of their physician or has obtained a valid registry card from DHFS, they would be allowed to have the possession or be able to grow a certain amount of medicinal marijuana," Pocan explained.

"Please, we have to make this legal," Rickert told the press conference. "I beg all of you. 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."

Rickert wasn't the only patient speaking Tuesday. A 21-year-old, who called herself only Lynn, said she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two years earlier, and lost her sight, mobility and independence from the disease. Lynn told the crowd smoking medical marijuana worked on her symptoms when nothing else did, eventually allowing her to be well enough to live on her own.

"If you had a 19-year-old daughter who was in pain every day, what would you do to help?" Lynn asked. "You could be put on five different drugs three times a day every day, like I was. Or you can take pot, and now I'm on two drugs a day."

Another patient, J.F. Oschwald of Colorado, addressed the press conference from his wheelchair. "Medicine is medicine and if they can regulate morphine then they can regulate marijuana," he said.

"This was a nice start," said medical marijuana patient Gary Storck, who, along with Rickert, is a cofounder of the Wisconsin medical marijuana advocacy group Is My Medicine Legal Yet?. "We had a number of patients speak, as well as Boyle and Pocan, and we got some good media coverage," he told the Chronicle.

Responses at the capitol have grown less frosty than a decade ago, Storck said. "When I go up there lobbying with patients, I'm seeing changed attitudes. We're being well-received, and you can see that some of the staffers are really affected. It looks like this is finally gaining some legs," he said.

Part of the change in attitude is due to the educational efforts of medical marijuana activists and proponents, said Storck. "Patients are more willing to come out and let their stories be told, and that only helps," he said. "The fact that other states are passing it or coming close to passing it helps, too. We're ringed by states where they're already a little closer."

But with Republicans controlling the state Assembly, it will be a difficult battle this two-year session, he said. "We've got an agreement from one senator to hold an informational hearing in November, but I'm afraid this will just be caught up in politics as usual this session. I'm hoping the Democrats will take back the Assembly next year -- that would really improve our chances. Gov. Doyle has already said he will sign a medical marijuana bill," Storck added.

Still, Storck, Rickert, IMMLY and other medical marijuana supporters aren't waiting for next year. "There's always the hope the legislature will come to its senses," he said. "Legislators have until October 4 to sign on as cosponsors, and we're hoping a senator or two will sign on so it can move. While we think we'll have better luck with a Democrat-controlled legislature, we will continue to push now."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

It's Jacki with no "e"

Jacki has a whole storage facility full of the extra e's folks have mistakenly added at the end of her name!

Gary Storck
immly.org

What happened? It's now

What happened? It's now almost 2009... when will this bill finally be passed?? I do not want to be a criminal for using an herb that treats the pain I deal with everyday!!

Medical Marajuana

I'm a chronic pain patient and of all the drugs they have me on, marijuana is the only one that provides relief. I certainly hope that our government will realize that this is an herb that has so much potential.

Are we still fighting?!

Agreed - What's going on? Where do we stand NOW?

any new dates on the approval of my meds?

When are there going to be hearings or public discussions about the use of medical marijuana in wisconsin? I need to attend them to be another voice heard, showing how I, and many other people who are suffering, will benefit from the use of this herb our medicine.

Come on' already!

If you had two friends one of which was drunk and the other who had smoked pot, which of those friends would you get a ride home with? Obviously the friend who had smoked pot. I have a strong work history, family , bills, just like most people. I also suffer from depression and anxiety. I've tried many anti-depressants and sleeping meds and I hated them. The only drug that has ever worked for me has been marijuana. Its just outrageous that I need to go to the hood and risk getting robbed,killed, or arrested just so I can self medicate and get some rest at night.

Ridiculous!

Just recently in Kenosha a man was arrested for $175,000 worth of marijuana plants. He is facing 35 years in prison.

Less than 3 months ago a repeat DUI offender (her 4th) killed a bicyclist while driving intoxicated on alcohol. Not only was it her 4th offense, but it was also a Hit and Run homicide - her sentence? 6 years in prison.

What is wrong with this picture?

Let's get this Bill to our Wisconsin Legislature. The time is now.

re: Ridiculous

That's a disgusting little story, but such is the world we live in.

Why they won't legalize marajuana

I'm commenting on the piece written about the DUI offender that killed someone and got 6 yrs in prison, while the person caught w/marijuana is facing 35 yrs in prison. Does it make you wonder if it's not about the plant but about the money? The revenue taken in for just marijuana possession is staggering. I'm another chronic pain patient that has found little relief from anything but marijuana. With so many people crying out for this bill to pass.....what is the real issue behind the legalization of marijuana for pain control? I think the drug companies that fund a lot of our government officials with kickbacks and so forth are scared that the average person will start growing their own and they won't get any $$ from it. I'm not usually paranoid, but come on, what is the problem??

That is exactly the reason

That is exactly the reason why it isn't legal to much moneywith the insurance companys and prescription companys going to r elected officials!!!

kenosha resident

i too live in kenosha and i am a veteran i just want fair to be fair. people should know right from wrong. im willing to do anything possible my email address is [email protected] and my cell is (224)578-8687. i want to stand up but not alone.

sincerly, Peter Pournaras

re:kenosha resident peter

i think its funny that ur wrote it to be anonymous and then u give ur email name and cell number which is crazy to do on the internet and then u give ur name at the end i think thats a little bazar that u did that u got alot guts to put ur personal info on here.

this was embarrasing. shows

this was embarrasing. shows how unequal our justice system is. Is marijuana really any worse than alcohol? seriously some some folks need to step into the 21st century.
our justice system is seriously flawed. also think about it legalizing marijuana would help bring in 1000's of jobs.

Re: 1000 jobs for legalizing marijuana

i agree i cant find a job for the heck of it and i think it would bring up alot of jobs and im in cronic back pain all the time and i dont believe in taking perscription drugs with all those stupid and unhealthy side effects. i agree with legalizing it. my fiance has serious pain all over due to his profession and its bad on his skin and body and the this is the only thing to take his pain away.

I Agree!

As crooked as police are now in days we need to protect our sick brothers and sisters from any and all un- due punishment for being ill, I smoke myself and feel my life was stolen from me as i am also a convicted felon, in a 1992 Poss/ with Intent Charge along with everything else they could think of as Police here in MANITOWOC are crooked and always have been.The peolpe in Manitowoc are STUPID and give the police City and County to much power and freedom. They are taser happy now that they have new toys issued to them. They run the streets where your children are or will some day come in contact with them,And with them passing out felonies like condoms at an aids convention,Well i dont have to tell you where that leaves them. This law is owed to the people, Its owed to every state, Its owed To ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

GET IT DONE!

want to help

what can i do to help i use to have a card and a care givers program in calf want to have the same rights here as i did there

when lord, when?

There is a verse in genesis, the very first book in the bible for those who do not know, that sais "i have given you all the seed bearing plants and herbs to USE" now as a christian i need no other permission from any fake government official who tells me i cannot use the cannabis which was given by the allmighty for the betterment of the human race. why else do we find history of cannabis use for thousands of years, hell, even before the bible was written. In eighth grade i did a report on medical marijuana, lord knows i got alot of ridicule from some of my classmates, but i beilived in my issue, and did quite well on it. now if an eighth grader talking about medical marijuana can get through to a teach, why cant millions of adults get through to our government. i am now 20 years old in case anyone was wondering, and i want to hear what ever anyone has to say about this very important issue, not only to the US, but the entire human population. my email address is [email protected] oh and if anyone knows what is going on in wisconsin with the medical marijuana bill please let me know thank you

marijuana

free the tree in wisconsin! is is much needed not only by the economy but the many patients in which it could cure, relieve from pain and emotional problems...

I put it to the test

I am 45 years old have not smoked pot since I was a teenager, I have read the goverement study on the use of THC in patients with spasticity problems, I am in frequent pain and my doctor has taken me over the max on baclafin, I have several other narcotics, like valuam, even got the insurance company to authorize toridol injections in my home after my wife was trained to give them from my docors RN. I ran an ER in the military for 4 years, I know the side affects of heavy narcotics, addiction, mood swings, liver and kidney problems. I have been tossing around the use of medicinal marijuana for the last year or so, I have read all he arguments, but it is still against the law, last week I went to Washington State, I was by myself away from my wife and Children, got offered to try it, I was a consenting adult who had no influance on my 11 year old son and for the first ime in 20 years I smoked Pot, it may have been a placiebo effect, but over the next 4 days no burning and aching in my legs, us MS patients know that stress is a huge factor in MS aggrivation, I returned to visit my dad in the hospital and make a family decissision to stop life support, becuase he would not want to live that way. My MS was kicking I got offered to to smoke a bowl, the person I was with I love and trust, and it was just a fine there if we got caught, kind of like stepping too heavy on the gas pedal. I gave it a shot.
It was never an option in WI it is against the law, now what I want to know is WHY. all my narcotics make me a different person and baclofin in such high doses nakes my legs so tired i sit at home most of the time, maybe this drugs are man tried to figure out and just cant quite figure it out, But God did he gave us marijuana, in closing I am the guy who took over a year to consider this, if it was legal and I smoked pot would I be a bad influance to my son, DO I stop takeing the narcotics and live with my pain, are they a bad influace also. My descision is here in Wisconson it is against the law, I will not put my family in danger, when it is real bad I will take my narcotics, and put myself in danger, before I can Smoke Marijuana in Wi it will be legal or we will move to another State and I will pay my tax's there, but I will not break the law and give that influance to my son. BUt I will continue the fight by contacting everyone i know to make unfair laws right, I am an adult, I make my descisions I fight my battles, I am enclosing this letter to lobby my state for the legalization of Marijuana. This is the example I can and will give my son.

. I have been in the United

. I have been in the United States Air Force for three years and disabled for two of them. I am getting medically discharged next month and am going to be heading home to Wisconsin to hope that the VA hospital can take better care of me. I have a very serious spine injury and I have tried every treatment possible including a surgery with an 18% success rate that failed miserably. I have been at home and not working since the injury and they are discharging me because of the condition I am in. I don't leave the house and can hardly sit in a chair or stand for longer than 15 minutes. The long term chronic pain and the uncertainty of my future has caused me to have severe depression and anxiety as well. I have been on narcotic pain medications (percocet, oxycontin, valium) and anti-anxiety/depression medications this entire time and it is have horrible effects on my body and mind. I have lost more than 20 lbs and I'm already a small guy, I have zero appetite, my tolerance for the medications has increased by a great amount and it’s also causing me stomach issues now and who knows what it is doing to my other organs. It would all be almost worth it if it actually helped the pain but it only lasts for about 30 minutes and then I am miserable again. I have done quite a bit of research on the issues and benefits medical marijuana and I truly think that it could be the one thing that could make my life tolerable.

I am writing this short bio to everyone in our WI government to try and help get this passed here in mid-September. I hear it is going to be voted on next week sometime. Please do the same, if not for me, then others that are constantly taking narcotic medications that do not do anything for them but change the person that they are. This injury and these medications have ruined most of my life and my marriage and I am only 21 years old. Please help and email, call, write lettters, to whoever you have to. If you dont have medical issues yourself, think of those of us that do that have tried everything possible and nothing works, and if it does, its temporary but has severe consequences on other parts of our bodies. If you have to, use my story in your email or letter. Tell them about this person you know and how you think it might help them.

Thank you and God bless you all,
Aaron

medical marijuana

One of my sons had a terrible eye problem, arthritis and other ailments and they were only helped by his marijuana use. The judge who sentenced him in 2005 for this "use" didn't know squat and wouldn't take the doctor's word or anything the doctor wrote that would help my son. Needless to say my son was in constant pain and was sentenced for growing the stuff for his own use. The government took all his property too so he was left without anything, even his dignity. Unfortunately he was killed two years later in an accident where the driver of the other vehicle was drunk; my son hadn't been drinking. All I can say is I believe that if he'd been able to use marijuana for his pain, he'd have been more comfortable. But who really cared? No one. That's who. Especially the courts.

MEDICAL marijuana

CONTIMPLATING - GOV. DOYLE OF WISCONSINS COMMENTS ABOUT ALLOWING MEDICAL PO0T IN THIS STATE - I FEEL A RELEIF OVER THIS QUESTION THAT THIS WILL BE FINALLY POSSIBLE TO SMOKE MY PAIN MEDS AND USE THIS ONE TYPE OF PAIN THEROPY IN CONJUNCTION WITH AND IN ADDITION TO MORPHINE TO CONTROL , THE CONSISTANT DEBILITATING NEUROLOGICAL PAIN I EXPERIENCE DAILY 26 YEARS AGO I WAS TOLD I HAD CERVICAL SPINAL STENOSIS AND HAVE BEEN COMBINING THESE 2 ME4DICATIONS ON A DAILY BASIS TO TRY AND CONTROL THE PAIN I LIVE WITH - IT GENUINELY WORKS WITH CAREFUL THOUGHT AND DOSAGE - IN THE ELECTION OF 1976 JIMMY CARTER MADE LEGALIZING POT AS A CAMPAGNE PROMISE IN THAT ELECTION YEAR WHILE STANDING ON THE STATE CAPITAL STEPS IN MADISON WI.
I HAVE BEEN WAITING ALONG WITH MANY OTHERS FOR THIS LOGICAL THING TO TAKE PLACE IN THIS STATE AS WELL AS ALL MOVER THE COUNTRY - SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH ME AND OTHERS - THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT SUBJECT AND TRUELY NEEDS TO COME TO A REALITY - I HAVE BEEN WAITING 33 YEARS HALF MY LIFETIME THE WAITING SHOULD BE OVER....
===========================

Medical uses

Hello. My name is Anthony. I am an epileptic. My doctors have been trying to help me for a while now, switching from prescription to prescription, different doctor to a different specialist.... needless to say, i think you realize, that the bills rack up. None of the pills work. Maybe ill get a break from a day with no seizures but the next day i will. Every day i suffer from uncontrollable stuttering, shaking, muscle spasms and seizures. Ever since i broke down one day from all the agony an pain i was going through i smoked some marijuana. Not proud of it let me assure you. But im glad i did it. Once i did it i was calm, no symptoms at all, everything came to a halt. i have now been smoking once maybe 2 times in a day. I will take 3 hits at the most, and i wont have any symptoms for the day. Why should we pay for medically produced drugs that dont work and see doctors that cant help us... when i can spend the money from one treatment an months worth of meds and be able to pay for enough marijuana to treat me for at least 2-3 months. I just do not understand this.

I have chronic pain,

I have chronic pain, although I am under eighteen, i hope it won't let my doctors not be able to prescribe medical to me. My nuerologist said if it was legal I would most likely be able to get it. I would love to be able to be on as little as three or four pills a day rather than all the pills I am on now. They are trying to wien me off, although lowering my pain medicane is not good for me at all. I already smoke, it's not like it's going to be laced if it medical, so that's one advantage. I personally believe it is better than taking all the chemicals in pills and also drinking. I am able to still realize what I am still doing and to be able to function throughtout my day without laying in bed for the whole day. Getting it from my doctor would be wonderful with the money issue too. If insurance will cover some of it.

An Honest Opinion!

God is perfect, Man is not... Man man made cigs, God made pot! I'm pro marijuana, don't get me wrong! But I have an issue yet with the 'government' controlling and regulating my use of marijuana! Its not the freedom we deserve! Hear me out... Tobacco, just like Marijuana is and was natural herb! Well look were tobacco is now that its ran by the 'government' all the chemicals put in it, all the tampering around w it just to get them some extra addictive cash! What's to say that that won't happen w pot? Not saying it will happen in my time or anytime but what if? Hell, its illegal to even grow a tobacco plant unless u are in like tx where they have huge farms growing for cig plants. I'm a little uneasy about the whole 'medical' marijuana thing. They might aS well call it 'governments' POT of gold! We are getting raped of our freedoms to a natural god made herb! I will vote yes to med marijuana, but unfortunatly we need to think above what's being offered here! It be much better if free rights played a part and the gov kept their nose outta it! Legalize marijuana period to help all in need when they need it, not for when some one else thinks they need it!

medical marijuana

I am a person that was diagnosed with cronic pain about ten years ago,and now they have me on high doeses of narcotic drugs{the highst doese by law}and that is not enough.I am in so much pain everyday that i can't even get out of bed or function to live a normal life.If they did legalize it and let people like me with my problems and others like it we might be able to function and get our lifes back. So i am for this bill to pass and I hope it does soon because I don't know how much more of this pain I can take,and take high doeses of narcotic meds that are not helping me.It's come to the point where I have thought of moving to a state were it is legal, but with me having cronic pain and cerbal palsy and no one to help me that is just imposable right now. So please continue the fight and get it legalized in Wisconsin so people like me can have their life back.

I hate taking so many pills

I take 2 different narcotics a day and several other medications for my chronic Pain and Anxiety. But i hate putting all of these different chemicals into my body. If Medical Marijauna could take the place of most of these Pills then i hope they pass this Bill.

Medical Marijauna

I am Bi-polar, have ADD, Post traumatic stress and insomnia. When I was in my late teens and early 20's (I'm 52 now) I smoked pot and the symptoms of all of my disorders were hidden. It took forever for me to be diagnosed because I was smoking pot which was masked everything. When I got pregnant with my daughter at 25 I stopped smoking and all hell broke loose. All of the symptoms raised their ugly heads. If pot was legalized I could go off 4-5 of my meds. PLEASE, someone in the Wisconsin assembly has to have one or two brain cells to understand that this is useful herb that would help millions of people control their disabilities.

God Sent!!!

I will kep this short and sweat--- I am a Marine Corps Iraq veteran. I have PTSD, and I smoke pot. I screwed up after I got back state side and was discharged. I dont have any bennies from the Gov.  Life was really hard for a while. I was always afraid to have my back to a door or window. Nightmares and outburst's of tears for my fallen Marines. I couldn't leave my home without thinking I could be snipped at any time, or the car at the red light was EID. I was in hell. At one time I thought I would be better off dead. SO here I was, with no insurance- no job- and no medication. A fellow Marine told me to start smoking pot. He said that he does, and it makes life bearable for him. I know he wasn't BS-ing me because he served with me over sea's. I was hesitant because, It's illegal. He started getting it for me and now I love myself and life. I can now go to fairs and movie theaters, ect.... I most of all,  have regained my safety and self-worth (mentally) and I owe it all to a weed.  

Come on allready!!!!!

I do not use marijuana but most of the senior men in my family are war veterans and suffer anywhere  from cronic pain, sleeping disorders, lack of appetite, and probly the most unbearable post traumatic stress disorder .  Now this drug as you call it does help they could result to drinking but that only makes things worse and that shits legal?  Someone really has to do somethng cause with pot they sleep better at night they eat on a regular basis and pain is bearable to them!!  So need i say more!!!

Little back story; the first

Little back story; the first time i was diagnosed with depression was when i was 13 but had suicidal thoughts from about the time i was 12 (at this point in time i never smoked marijuana and i said i never would). Doctors gave me pills that they said "would make me feel better" and by god it did, i was never sad, never mad, and i never felt like hurting myself. But there was a huge downside, I never felt joy, happiness, even the feeling of love was extremely dulled. Its these pills that made me stop going to my therapist and stop taking them. of course it brought back the same old feelings. 

that is until one day.

i am now 20 and it was about 6 months ago maybe a little more the first time i used marijuana it was a very dark day in my mind and the last few weeks had been just as bad. i was on the verge of suicide, and that is why i actually smoked i thought i never tired it might as well before i go. needless to say it felt great, i wasn't sad, i didn't think about killing myself but the best thing was i was happy and i hadn't felt true happiness in so long.

if medical marijuana was legal in this state i would be willing to go see a doctor, but until then i will not, i will never go back to the pills that took away my happiness

Same story

WHEN is this gonna be voted on to be passed... I was also given pills that "make me feel better" With anxiety and sever mood swings.. but really the pills made me either gain substantial amount of weight and have no self of steam, or made me more angry.. even crazy without them at times.. But then smoking weed just made me chill.. I work out do school/work and at the end of the day smoke weed.. sometimes mid day if needed really.. and i mean really needed..

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