Valentine’s Day 2008: Asking Bill Clinton, Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?

With the 2016 presidential campaign in full swing and Hillary Clinton once again among leading candidates, it seems fitting to take a look back to Valentine’s Day 2008, when former President Bill Clinton made a stop at the UW-Madison Stock Pavilion for Hillary Clinton during her unsuccessful campaign against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, on 2008 .

My friend and fellow political junkie, the late Madison-based cannabis/free speech/privacy activist Ben Masel, had suggested to that we picket the event with signs that read, “Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?” As it turned out, we actually ended up holding signs that read, “Where’s Jacki’s Medcine.” We sent the printer the correct spelling, but an “i” got lost somewhere, and we noticed the error too late.

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Jacki Rickert speaking in April 2012 at the Patients Out of Time Conference in Tucson Arizona. (Cannabadger.com)

A little Background: In 1992, the Clinton-Gore  campaign did a series of Western Wisconsin campaign stops along the Mississippi River and vicinity including one in Osseo, Wisconsin. Osseo is close to the home of Wisconsin pioneer medical cannabis patient Jacki Rickert, who had been approved for federal medical cannabis supplies through the Compassionate IND program in Dec. 1990, but never supplied, after then-President George H. W. Bush suspended the program in 1991.

It was a full bus with not only Bill Clinton but also Al Gore, Tipper Gore and Hillary Clinton all on board. Jacki, in a wheelchair, accompanied by her daughter, called out to Clinton as he worked the crowd at the rope line. He came over to her and during an encounter that Jacki has said lasted as long as 8 minutes, she explained her problem. Jacki said Bill Clinton responded, “Why that’s just terrible,” and “I feel your pain,” promising her she’d get her medicine if he was elected. She handed him a large folder of paperwork documenting her story was true. A secret service agent abruptly grabbed it from a startled Clinton’s hands, to examine it, then handed it back. Bill Clinton told Jacki he’d read it, “just as soon as he got on that bus.” Repeated contacts after his election were ignored. Jacki never got the medicine her courageous physician, Dr. William Wright had worked so hard for her to obtain.

So on a bitterly cold Valentine’s Day in 2008, Ben and I bundled up and headed to the Stock Pavilion.

Below are excerpts from blog posts from myself on the Madison NORML blog and Ben on Daily Kos who cited a Wisconsin State Journal article published at the time by Susan Lampert Smith, “Time Passing by Clinton Generation“.

16 years later, Bill Clinton finally gets asked, “Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?”

Posted by Gary Storck Thursday, February 14, 2008

I was on the phone with Jacki right after it happened. Ben Masel and I had been standing across the street from the Stock Pavilion on the University of Wisconsin campus, waiting in the cold for the arrival of former president Bill Clinton. We were there today, holding signs that read, “Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?,” attempting to remind Mr. Clinton that as a candidate for president in 1992, he had met with Jacki Rickert at a campaign stop in Osseo, WI, and promised her he would make right the bureaucratic nightmare that had been holding up the delivery of the federal medical marijuana supplies that her doctor had gained approval for her to use.

Finally, there was a burst of activity as numerous cars pulled up. Ben noticed Bill Clinton exiting from a vehicle just inside a garage door across the street from our position. We waved our signs and shouted, “Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?” He was across the street maybe 40 yards tops and as Ben noted, “made eye contact.” He could then be seen talking to state Democratic Party chair Joe Wineke, who Ben had explained the Jacki Rickert story to when we came across him on Sept. 18, 2007, as the “Quest for Justice” last mile wheelchair march up State St. reached the Capitol for a press conference announcing the introduction of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (AB 550).

Ben ran into Joe Wineke not too long ago and posted this report on Daily Kos:

WI Dem Chair Joe Wineke, who was escorting Bill, recently told me Bill had asked the meaning of the sign. Joe, who’d met Jacki at the ceremony marking the introduction of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act in the State Legislature click here, recounted the 1992 encounter for him. Bill denied remembering his 1992 meeting.

Ben’s post was followed by this post:

Interesting considering that Clinton is said to remember every meeting with everybody. When I met him the second time, well into his first term, he certainly remembered the first time he and I met, in 1986, at the home of Stanley Sheinbaum, where Robert Scheer spoke about the end of the Cold War and Bill followed a young woman around like a bloodhound for half an hour. by Meteor Blades on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:03:09 PM PDT

I guess if I promised a very sick woman I’d see to it that she got her medicine if I were elected president and then failed to do so in my eight years in office, I’d be so ashamed and embarassed that I’d claim not to remember too.

Here’s Ben’s Daily Kos post filed May 7, 2008:

ben masel May 07 · 11:59:30 PM ’92>’96

The sharp dive can be attributed to Bill’s embrace of the DrugWar, after throwing us the “didn’t inhale” wink and nod in ’92.

Just after the ’92 convention, his Mississippi river bus tour stopped in Osseo, Wisconsin, where he spoke for 8 min utes with medical marijuana patient Jacki Rickert, who’d been approved for, but not yet admitted to, the federal mmj program when Poppa Bush closed the program.

Bill: “I feel your pain” and “When I’m President you’ll get your medicine.” All she got when she wrote the WhiteHouse was a form letter, “If Drugs were legal, my brother Roger would be dead.”

Last February, I picketed Bill’s Madison appearance with a sign “Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?”

WI Dem Chair Joe Wineke, who was escorting Bill, recently told me Bill had asked the meaning of the sign. Joe, who’d met Jacki at the ceremony marking the introduction of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act in the State Legislature, recounted the 1992 encounter for him. Bill denied remembering his 1992 meeting.

Wisconsin State Journal columnist Susan Lampert Smith covered the picket in her Primary-eve column, “Time Passing by Clinton Generation“.

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. The rest of us who voted for him didn’t get our health-care reform.

How will the future play out for today’s Obama girls?

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?

Below is a video of Hillary Clinton in 2008 that is from the original Madison NORML blog post, where she is responding to a question about legalizing medical cannabis. He response then sounds much like her position today, “I don’t think we ought to decriminalize it so we ought to do some research.” Hillary in 2008 saying it should not be decriminalized was spoken 8 years after Bill Clinton said pot should be decriminalized in his parting remarks leaving office.

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