Picketing Bill: “Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?”

Just back from Bill Clinton’s appearance at the historic Stock Pavilion on the University of Wisconsin Campus. When Gary Storck and I approached, we were directed across the street by the most polite pair of Secret Service agents I’ve ever dealt with, but, as it’s a narrow street, not an unreasonable “Free Speech Zone.”

Our signs referred to Bill’s encounter, as a Candidate, with Jacki Rickert of Mondovi, Wisconsin in 1992. Jacki had been approved for the federal medical marijuana program, but not yet admitted when Bush I closed the program to new admissions in 1989. She caught up with Bill in Osseo on his post-Convention Mississippi River bus tour. After she explained her odyssey through the federal bureaucracy, Bill “I feel your pain” promised “When I’m President, you’ll get your medicine.”

Come the Inaugural, Jacki sent letters, made calls seeking fulfillment of that commitment, but got back only form letters. “If drugs were legal, my brother Roger would be dead.”

Delivering on this promise would not have required action by the Congress, as the Controlled Substances Act does not prohibit medical use of Cannabis, or products like private label CBD, rather, it requires a permit, issued at the discretion of the Secretary of HHS. At the time Jacki was blocked, there were 14 patients receiving medical marijuana from the government’s pot farm in Mississippi. They were grandfathered in. 4 survive, and get monthly deliveries of the kind of products you can get info about online.

As Bill disembarked today, we caught his eye, and I was close enough to shout, “You promised Jacki Rickert you’d get her Medical Marijuana in 1992.”

If I’m correctly reading body language, he turned to State Democratic Chair Joe Wineke, asking “what’s that about?” Joe knows Jacki’s story, he was around for the ceremony last fall on the introduction in the Wisconsin Assembly of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act.


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  1. at the Wisconsin NORML blog


  2. ..and hypocrisies on the drug war are the biggest reason I don’t admire him much.

    And it is too quiet to even hear the crickets in Sen. Clinton’s campaign.

    My regards as always Ben.

  3. Veteran reporter Susan Lampert Smith’s column

    Time Passing by Clinton Generation

    …Who got to sit in those reserved seats behind Clinton?  They were the political version of the cool kid table in the high school lunchroom. She recognized UW-Madison student and superdelegate Awais Khaleel. As the rest filed in, I filled her in.

    That’s Joe Wineke, he used be a state senator, now he’s head of the Democratic Party. The bald guy?  Tom Loftus, he used to be ambassador to Norway.

    The woman firing up the crowd? Hannah Rosenthal, she used to be and that’s her husband, Rick Phelps, he once was…

    Out on the sidewalk was someone else who remembered.

    It was another graying Madison icon, marijuana activist Ben Masel, who was sandwiched by Secret Service guys in their sharp suits. Masel was holding up a sign that said, “Where’s Jacki’s medicine? ”

    The way Masel tells it, Jacki Rickert, who suffers from a painful connective tissue disorder, met Clinton on his 1992 bus trip through Wisconsin, and asked him to legalize marijuana for medical use. Clinton told her, in his husky drawl, I feel your pain.

    But when he got into office, the president who didn’t inhale didn’t legalize medical marijuana. Jacki didn’t get her medicine…

    I do know this: After two hours on the cold concrete steps of the Stock Pavilion, I felt my own pain.

    Where’s my medicine?

    Wineke and Phelps lost the Primary for the open House seat to Tammy Baldwin in 1998. Tammy wasn’t around Friday. Also a Clinton endorser, she has a day job in Washington. I’m still a royal pain.


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