Where's Jacki's Medicine?

October 25, 2006

, Shepherd Express (WI)

Polls show that an astounding 80% of Wisconsin residents favor legalizing marijuana for seriously or terminally ill patients if a physician supports that course of therapy. But don't count Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green as a member of the majority. 

Medical marijuana activists have been seeking answers from Green, the son of a South African doctor, about his views on allowing seriously ill people to use marijuana as part of a state-regulated program.  When Madison resident Gary Storck wrote to Green last year, Green's letter indicated that he was against legalizing medical marijuana, even for those suffering from debilitating medical conditions.  "Smoking marijuana, even in small amounts, carries health risks that exceed any perceived therapeutic effects," Green wrote.  "I believe current medical options are superior to legalizing an addictive and dangerous illegal drug."

Jacki Rickert, founder of Is My Medicine Legal Yet? ( IMMLY ), wasn't satisfied with that answer.  "That's a belief, not a scientific fact," she said. 

Rickert, who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Advanced Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, wants to know what these "superior" options are.  "Is there something that our doctors and pharmacists don't know?" she said. 

Rickert, who uses a wheelchair, has been receiving medical marijuana through a federal program that is now closed to new patients, and firmly believes she's been helped by it. 

But Jacki and her fellow "medical marijuana commando squad" haven't gotten an answer from the congressman, so they held a protest at Green's campaign office in Allouez. 

It didn't seem to sway the congressman's opinion. 

The NBC affiliate in Green Bay quoted Mark Graul, Green's campaign manager, as saying, "I don't think your average Wisconsinite believes we should be legalizing drugs."

But Graul may be mistaken.  According to the protesters, they've gotten lots of support from passersby-a honk and waves from a car with three nuns, stories about other folks who've benefited from medical marijuana and signs of support from seniors. 

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