MADISON: AB554/SB368, The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (JRMMA), sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Waunakee), would allow patients undergoing a “debilitating medical condition or treatment” to possess and use a small amount of medical cannabis.
As the JRMMA is based on the law Michigan voters passed in Nov. 2008, with a majority in every county, it lists debilitating conditions included in Michigan’s law.
However, the JRMMA also contains two qualifying conditions not included in Michigan law. The first is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is included in California’s law by virtue of the clause: “or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief“. PTSD was also added to New Mexico’s list of qualifying conditions after patients petitioned the state medical cannabis program and they concurred.
The other condition is Ehlers-Damlos Syndrome (EDS), and it has never before been specifically included in any state medical cannabis bill language. EDS is a group of inherited disorders marked by extremely loose joints, hyperelastic skin that bruises easily, and easily damaged blood vessels. EDS is included as it is also one of the medical conditions that the bill’s namesake, Jacki Rickert is afflicted with, and she was approved for, but never supplied with, federal medical marijuana supplies to treat it.
Here is the JRMMA text listing debilitating conditions and treatments:
961.01 (5m) “Debilitating medical condition or treatment” means any of the following: (a) Cancer, glaucoma, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, a positive test for the presence of HIV, antigen or nonantigenic products of HIV, or an antibody to HIV, 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. (b) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of such a disease or condition that causes cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis. (c) Any other medical condition or any other treatment for a medical condition designated as a debilitating medical condition or treatment in rules promulgated by the department of health services under s. 961.436 (5). — Text of JRMMA.
PTSD is not just something many Iraqi and Afghani war vets are returning home with, but also something all too common in the general public in those who have endured traumatic situations. Cannabis is uniquely able to help those with PTSD put bad memories behind them.
Dr. Tod Mikuriya wrote about PTSD including how returning Vietnam vets utilized cannabis.
approximately eight percent of the >9,000 Californians whose cannabis use I have monitored presented with PTSD (309.81) as a primary diagnosis. Many of them are Vietnam veterans whose chronic depression, insomnia, and accompanying irritability cannot be relieved by conventional psychotherapeutics and is worsened by alcohol. For many of these veterans, chronic pain from old physical injury compounds problems with narcotic dependence and side effects of opioids.
Survivors of childhood abuse and other traumatic experiences form a second group manifesting the same symptoms —loss of control and recurrent episodes of anxiety, depression, panic attacks and mood swings, chronic sleep deficit and nightmares.
Today’s vets are finding it a potent remedy too.
While Wisconsin’s JRMMA is on the cutting edge of state medical cannabis bills, additional medical uses are being explored in states like California, where the wide focus of their law has allowed its use by children with autism, as well as patients suffering from social anxiety and attention deficit disorder. Substituting medical cannabis for toxic, often addictive and/or organ-damaging heavy pharmaceuticals has shown great promise. Medical cannabis patients can titrate doses to suit their needs, rather than being chained to a daily prescription they must take the rest of their life, side effects and all.
On Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 at 10am in Room 412 East of the State Capitol, two Wisconsin State Legislature Health committees are scheduled to hold a combined hearing on the JRMMA, Those attending can expect to hear from a diverse array of patients reporting how cannabis treats a wide range of medical conditions, both those included in the JRMMA and some that are not, but perhaps should be.
All photos courtesy of IMMLY/Madison NORML.
For more information on the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, the Dec. 15 combined Health committee hearing and how to submit testimony, bill text and status, all the latest news and how you can help, visit JRMMA.org, IMMLY.org or MadisonNORML.org. Visit my Madison NORML Examiner articles archive.