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Hosted by Drug Sense

IMMLY Response to Wisconsin Assembly Health committee chair Leah Vukmir 

On April 10, 2007, the Wisconsin State Journal reported:

But Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform, said she will continue her opposition to medical marijuana because of concerns about its safety.

Vukmir, a nurse, said she believes it is better for patients to use medications that have been approved or may soon be available than to have people grow their own marijuana.

"I will refuse to put members through the circus of a hearing for a bill that is not going to go anywhere," Vukmir said. "This is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to legalize marijuana, which is not going to happen on my watch."


April 18, 2007: Jacki's letter to Rep. Vukmir, hand delivered by Gary Storck and a group of ten Wisconsinites also outraged by her comments:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An open letter to Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa.

Dear Rep. Vukmir, 

In just three paragraphs, you were able to hurt me, and many other people in this Great State of Wisconsin with your vicious, prejudgemental words in the Wisconsin State Journal about medical cannabis.

Is your public statement that you will continue to be in opposition to medical Cannabis/Marijuana ONLY your feeling, or are you speaking in behalf of the entire Assembly? You also spoke of concerns about its safety. Would you share your research with the people of WI? I think it fair to say the vast majority of this Great State, over 80% disagree with you, as shown by the results of the Chamberlain Research Poll that IMMLY commissioned in 2002 (http://www.immly.org/poll.htm). 

Speaking as a nurse, how could you not see the obvious? Not all people find enough relief, and some have allergic reactions to many approved drugs. Several people, including myself, have opened up their hearts to the Assembly, telling the truth of the great benefits of Medicinal Cannabis/Marijuana.

As per your quote "I will refuse to put members through the circus of a hearing for a bill that is not going to go anywhere."

Since we, the people are not members, you must think these brave patients are a circus for the sole purpose of either entertaining you, or simply taking up time. I think this needs to be said for all those people who had a difficult time getting to Madison, the pain of 2-6 hr. drives, the expense of a hotel, not to mention the toll on one's body already in pain...some left their homes & their beds to testify, as we know we have little or no choice if we want to have the chance to convince the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Assembly Health Committee just how important it is to have safe and legal access to a God-given, healing herb. We are only asking for a "quality of life, not a mere existence." Many people are beyond hurt by you comments to the Wisconsin State Journal.

I think if anything were turned into a circus???? These statements feel so cold, and make me think that you either had blinders & earplugs on the day we spoke before the Assembly (you were there) & gained little or no knowledge of the medicinal properties of Cannabis. Were you mocking people who spoke only truth? Otherwise one would have to wonder if you EVEN CARE about the living, breathing truth that spoke, hoping for much more than the "kick 'em while there already down." 

We thought we were going to speak about a very important issue, Rep.Vukmir. In 1997, when the Journey for Justice arrived in Madison after 7 long days from Mondovi to Madison; we went in the FRONT door of the Capitol. How do the people of your district feel about "not on my watch"???

Are you doing the will of the people, or Rep. Leah Vukmir's will? Do you represent the views of the majority in your district? Nobody stays 49 years old forever. People age, people get sick, sometimes even with heritable diseases and/or syndromes that can change our lives forever, never knowing the time or degree of such.

I really think you owe an apology to the people for such comments you seemed to have freely felt and spoken. Did you not hear the cries that people live with everyday, nor have the least bit of compassion?

We have never asked to have special treatment...just a fair, legal, chance for treatment. Never, did we think we would be referred to as a circus. I don't understand. 

Please share what drugs may soon be available and when. The most incredible lady I have ever met, was told to wait for SOON... for years, but soon never came in her lifetime. As I close, could you please tell us your definition of SOON???

Jacki Rickert 
Founder of Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY)
Mondovi, WI


IMMLY's Press Release about today's action: 

For immediate release Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Activists Mark 25th Anniversary Of 1982 Signing Of Wisconsin Medical Marijuana Law By Delivering Letter To Medical Marijuana Opponent Rep. Leah Vukmir

Mondovi & Madison - Twenty-five years after the signing of Wisconsin's first medical marijuana bill, state activists plan to deliver a letter Wednesday to Assembly Health Committee chair Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, from IMMLY Founder and medical cannabis patient Jacki Rickert of Mondovi, regarding comments made by Vukmir in an April 10, 2007 Wisconsin State Journal article.

The State Journal reported Vukmir believes it is better for patients to use medications that "may soon be approved" than marijuana, and that she would not allow a hearing when medical marijuana legislation is introduced this session, saying it would be "a circus" and a "backdoor attempt to legalize marijuana, which is not going to happen on my watch."

Nearly 25 years ago to the date, on April 19, 1982, then Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus, a Republican, signed Assembly Bill 679 into law, creating a controlled substance therapeutic research program to supply medical marijuana to Wisconsin cancer chemotherapy and glaucoma patients. The bill had easily passed the Assembly 77-19 and the Senate 32-1 in 1981. Although federal refusal to supply medical marijuana for the program rendered it symbolic, the law put Wisconsin on record in support of compassionate access to medical cannabis. 

Ten years ago, in September 1997, Jacki Rickert led 15 medical cannabis patients on a wheelchair "Journey for Justice" 210 miles from Mondovi to the State Capitol in Madison to kick off the introduction of medical marijuana legislation sponsored by Rep. Frank Boyle (D-Superior) and then-State Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison). The bill was blocked in the Assembly Health Committee by then chairman Rep. Gregg Underheim (R-Oshkosh). Six years later, after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, Underheim sponsored medical cannabis legislation and held a committee hearing. Five years ago, a poll conducted by Chamberlain Research on behalf of IMMLY found 80.3% support statewide.

"In Nov. 2005, Rep. Vukmir personally witnessed Jacki's frail condition, saw her pain and heard her tell the committee how cannabis helped her survive," said Gary Storck, IMMLY's director of communications. "The science of medical cannabis is now irrefutable, and public support is overwhelming. For someone trained as a nurse to tell patients like Jacki, who are suffering today, to wait for medications that may be approved in the future when cannabis is available now, is so coldhearted it calls into question her fitness as Health Committee chair."

Is My Medicine Legal YET? is a Mondovi and Madison based grass roots patient and caregiver 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 608.241.8922/217.4136 or visit the IMMLY website at www.immly.org. 

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Updated Wednesday, April 18, 2007

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