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Eleven years ago, Jacki Rickert began losing weight.

"It got so bad that my daughter said to me, 'Mom, you look like you just
walked out of a concentration camp,' " she said.

Rickert was eventually diagnosed with a nervous system disorder. She began
using marijuana to stimulate her appetite and now weighs about 90 pounds.

"That might not seem like a lot, but it is to me," she said.

Rickert joined a rally of protesters at the City-County Building on
Thursday as part of a nationwide push to legalize the use of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana advocates and local and state officials made up the group
of about 25 people protesting federal medical marijuana policies.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Ed Thompson spoke to the protesters in
a show of support.

"I don't condone the use of illegal drugs, but the legalization of medical
marijuana is long overdue," he said.

Thompson pledged to back a state Senate bill that would legalize that would
legalize the use of medical marijuana if elected governor. The bill, which
was sponsored by state Reps. Frank Boyle, D-Superior, and Mark Pocan,
D-Madison, never made it out of committee.

"I think it's time we had the courage ton stand up and do the right thing,"
Thompson said.

Pocan also spoke in support.

"To close your eyes to compassionate use of marijuana is wrong," Pocan
said. "People have enhanced life quality because of medical marijuana."

Rally organizer Gary Storck agreed.

"It's wrong to make criminals out of sick patients like Jacki," said
Storck, who is the communications director of Is My Medicine Legal YET?, an
advocacy group for medical marijuana.

Storck, who is also a medical marijuana user, was born with glaucoma. He
lost part of his vision to the disease before he was diagnosed.

Prescription medications did not work well, he said,and he began smoking

"I indulged in cannabis and later saw my doctor," Storck said. "He was able
to lower the strength of my medicines."

Protests were planned for 65 cities across the country.


Pubdate: Thu, 07 Mar 2002
Source: Capital Times, The (WI)
Section: Page 2A
Copyright: 2002 The Capital Times
Contact: tctvoice@madison.com
Website: Cap Times
Details: Overload Warning
Author: Lynn Wohkwend
Note: A 5x7 inch photo of marchers accompanied the article, which also
measured 5x7 inches.
Bookmark: Overload Warning (Cannabis - Medicinal)
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