December 4, 2009 – Wisconsin – To celebrate his 54th birthday last April 23, medical marijuana advocate Gary Storck began lobbying for the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act at the state Capital with his friend Mary Powers, a wheelchair-bound U.S. Army veteran who was fighting AIDS, Hepatitis C and several forms of cancer.
“By the summer’s end we were there weekly, and I would make a short movie each week, just a couple minutes, ‘The Mary and Gary Show’,” Storck said. “There are seven on YouTube. Mary and I hit more than 80 offices, and soon other patients joined us. Mary was often having a hard time, but she was always there waiting for me in the rotunda on lobby days. She became a familiar figure in the hallways and offices.”
Mary’s last day of lobbying was Oct. 7.
“She was using an oxygen tank,” Storck said. “I took her into (Senate Republican leader) Scott Fitzgerald’s office to show them the face of medical marijuana, after his spokesperson, Kimber Leidl, issued statements saying ‘the risks outweighed the benefits’.”
Mary Powers died in her sleep Oct. 22.
“It devastated our tight little group. Jacki (Rickert), myself and others had spoken to Mary every day,” Storck said. “We are grieving, but we know Mary is with us, and her efforts have inspired many more to pick up this cause. Her suffering was too great, and we are glad she is free. Mary was also the founder of Wisconsin Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, and we are trying to carry on her work with another veteran.”
Storck discovered the medicinal benefits of marijuana by accident in 1972 when it relieved his congenital glaucoma. He was inspired to fight for medical marijuana in 1997 when a staph infection after his third open heart surgery almost killed him.
“As a doctor was removing the staples from the wound left in my groin by the heart lung pump, she infected me with staph,” he said. “48 hours later I was
deathly ill. I went to the ER and right into surgery. They took a lot of infected tissue out of my right groin. What followed were the worst 2 weeks of my life. I had several more surgeries, including removal of a 32-square-inch skin graft off my thigh to cover the hole in my groin. I was on the strongest antibiotics and a morphine drip. I believed I would die there in that hospital.”
On the ninth day on what he thought was his deathbed, Storck said he was visited by a “cannabis angel” with an edible. The cannabis angel returned the next day.
“By the third day, I was able to go outside and smoke a joint. And it was the best joint ever, because I knew I was going to make it out alive!” Storck said.
“And I vowed that day that I would use this extra time I was given to see that medical cannabis was finally legal in Wisconsin. It’s looking like, with a little luck and the blessings of the cannabis angels, that those efforts will soon come to fruition. But, there is still a lot of work yet, and the people of Wisconsin need to make their 80% support heard. But from a very long view, we are very close to the Promised Land.”
KEY POINTS OF THE JACKI RICKERT MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT
The Act allows three categories of medical marijuana users:
1) cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, a positive HIV test, Crohn’s disease, a Hepatitis C virus infection, Alzheimer’s disease, Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis, nail patella syndrome,
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, or the treatment of these conditions;
2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, or the treatment of such a disease or condition, that causes wasting away, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms;
3) any other medical condition or treatment for a medical condition designated as a debilitating medical condition or treatment in rules promulgated by the Department of Health Services.
A qualifying patient may invoke the medical necessity defense if he or she acquires, possesses, cultivates, transports, or uses marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of his or her debilitating medical condition or treatment.
Maximum authorized amount of marijuana: 12 marijuana plants and three ounces – approximately 85 grams – of marijuana leaves or flowers.
The bill requires DHS to establish a registry for medical users of marijuana. A person claiming to be a qualifying patient may apply for a registry identification card by submitting a signed application, accompanied by a written certification and a registration fee of not more than $150. Source.