WISCONSIN JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE
AKA as J4J2
A Condensed History by Kay Lee
Mondovi to Madison
September 11, 1997
7 days - 210 miles
Lead Patient - Jackie Rickert (in wheelchair)
This picture does not represent all the people on the actual journey. At least 6 of those in this picture
were here only for a day, but some who were here for the entire journey are not in the picture,
such as the organizor, Kay Lee and a number of out of state supporters.
WI Official Journeyers
Lead Patient, and nurse, Marie and helper dog Bones, "The Cannabis Canine"
Patient, Now Deceased
J Jo Johansen
Unofficial Journeyers from Wisconsin
Many Others whose names I do not recall
Patient, and her helper dog Farrari, the "Hemp Hound"
Patient, Original J4J Webmaster
Patient, Now Deceased
From North Carolina
Ray "Berry" Krieger
Patient, Roach Patrol
With Support from
Pres Bob Kunard
Rep. Frank Boyle
It is likely I've forgotten some of the journeyers. If you know of someone who should be on this list, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Kay Lee
Patients everywhere use marijuana to raise their quality of life. I am 53 years old and use cannabis therapy for arthritis. My friend is 47 and uses it for Ehlors-Danlos Syndrome. The Clinton administration has labeled us a hoax, a Cheech and Chong movie, and worst of all, criminals.
We, the patients, know better than any politician what makes us feel better. We've studied the history and know the plant is beneficial. We've tested the medicine and found it to be gentle, effective, and safe. Our grandparents knew it and our grandchildren will know it, because the truth doesn't go away.
We have written our legislators, sent them information, called them at our own expense and even went to their offices. They have ignored us, lied to us, patronized us and refused to help us.
The political rhetoric has turned our countrymen against us and taken our jobs. Current policies allow them to enjoy [sic] our property, eavesdrop on us, put us in jail and threaten our doctors.
They have ignored the people's will, even when we are allowed to vote on marijuana; even when we make it clear that we have the right to use this herb if it helps our medical condition. The federal government still says no! This has become intolerable. Whenever compassion and common sense are in conflict with the law, then the law is wrong. It is the duty of the people to change laws that hurt good people.
People are in pain, patients are going to jail, and corruption is running rampant because of immoral and unworkable policies.
We fully believe that God created this plant as a gift -- a blessing we have the inalienable right to use. Based on history, research, experience, and truth, WE ARE NOT CRIMINALS.
The second journey is hard to write about. I'm going to tell you things I have talked to very few people about, painful things that never should have happened, things that unfairly weakened my reputation for years. I was side-swipped; bushwhacked, and sucker-punched by my own side because I was unprepared. I'm only talking about it now as an example of what NOT to let happen when one plans an event.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have handled this situation much differently, but you have to remember, I was a newbie, guided by the spirit, totally believing that everyone in the movement had their eyes as tightly on the goal as I did.
On the outside we accomplished the mission we undertook: We educated people, we got press, we stood up to the law for our rights, we reached the capitol and were met by Wisconsin Rep. Frank Boyle, who held a press conference for us and introduced a Wisconsin House Bill to give patients in Wisconsin safe access to cannabis. On the outside the journey was as much a success as it was in Ohio.
But on the inside, the spiritual element that marked the Ohio journey never happened.
The Wisconsin leg of the journey actually began while I was still putting together the Ohio Journey. I always bring in some out-of-state patients to show solidarity for the lead patient. Jacki Rickert, who should be a legal patient but isn't, wanted to join us in Ohio, so I made travel arrangements, but when we went to pick her up at the airport, she wasn't anywhere to be found. Hours later, after a number of emergency calls, we discovered she had been trapped in the mud at the Madison hempfest with her hip out of socket and no access to a phones.
During the course of the Ohio journey, Jacki asked me if I would come to her house and stay with her while I prepared a Journey for Justice in Wisconsin. I did so. She gave me a room and board, phone access and an internet connection while I was there, as is my standard deal when working with patients and others who need me.
She introduced me to a handful of the local activists, young people who seemed interested in helping. They did a film of us and brought a computer over for me to use.
However, until I told Jacki that we had just secured a $5000 donation from NORML, the locals did not follow through on much of anything else we needed to get done. Therefore I had been plodding along, making connections, soliciting funding, planning logistics, contacting police and officials, and trying to make the journey happen while they pretty much left me alone. After the locals found out that real money was coming in for J4J2, they suddenly began to be quite a handful.
When I solicited help for Rep. Boyles from Eric Sterling's office, at least three of the local activists called me, cussing and literally screaming into the phone that they didn't need interference from outsiders like me and Eric Sterling.
One young man who was angry that Eric Sterling was helping Rep. Boyle rewrite the marijuana bill they had submitted, calmed down a bit after I pointed out that it didn't metter who wrote the bill, only that it have a chance to pass. But after trying to make sense with the others for several days, I grew weary of trying to reason with screaming and cursing people. I lost patience and finally said with great finality, "You are not welcome on this journey."
I continued organizing with little to no local help. That didn't bother me much because I had done the same thing up to a point in Ohio simply because I didn't know anyone. If they had left me and Jacki alone, it would have been no problem. But what made the planning extra hard was the constant interference, and the wall these people who called Jacki 'friend' built between her and I.
The efforts to foil the journey persisted. I'd schedule motels, call back to confirm and reservations would be cancelled, etc. Mail began to continually disappear, but that turned out to be Jacki's son-in-law, who worked on the sidelines of the group.
On the day the journey began, those I had specifically NOT invited showed up in the graveyard, walking in front of the media cameras unloading stuff they had brought for their free ride. Rather than run them off, I made the mistake of saying, "Well we all have the same goal, so we'll let bygones be bygones." Biggest mistake I ever made.
The journey was marked by rudeness, sabotage, theft, complaints, division and con games. When it was finally done and finished and everybody had gone home, Ray Berry from Ohio and I were still at a Madison motel wearily stripping the RVs of signs and tape and trash so I could turn them in clean. I was exhausted, disillusioned, and relieved the worst was over. But I was wrong - the worst was yet to come.
When I got back to Mondovi, without forewarning, without being given a chance to ask questions and get answers, me and my stuff were put out on the lawn of Jacki's home by her children and the police the minute I arrived. I only survived the couple of weeks until time to leave WI for the DPF Conference in New Orleans and on to Florida because one of Jacki's nurses took me in. We are still friends today. Thank you so very much for your faith, help, and support Dale and Patricia Serum of Mondovi.
My adventure with a handful of the Wisconsin activists almost made me lose spirit for the whole fight. I was so shocked and hurt that anyone would treat a person on the same side of the issue this way. All I wanted to do at that point was go home where people who loved me knew I had given my all to promote what I thought was a common cause.
When I was later told about the accusations and rumors about me that the group made sure made the rounds, it broke my heart to know that not everyone purporting to be part of the movement has their eyes on a common goal.
From what I've since been told, the rumors and lies spread like poison throughout the movement without anyone telling me about it or asking for my side of it. Without being aware of the attack on my reputation until much time had passed, my desire to do these valuable journeys dropped off and I became almost ineffective to the movement. Thank heaven's God had other projects in store for me.
Luckily I wasn't aware of the rumor mill for over a year, because my ignorance allowed me to just kept working. Finally Joan Bello and Elvy Musikka, who had traveled with us in Ohio, sat down and asked what went wrong in Wisconsin.
I believe I have proven to myself in the years since to many people. I think they know what I'm about, If you feel the need to judge me, do so by my deeds before the Wisconsin journey and over the years since, not by a handful of people's words.
Since Wisconsin, I've lived with and cared for and fought the good fight with warriors like Joe Hart, Jodi James, Dr. Richard Korn, and Jess Williams, all of whom will tell you I am not dishonest, I am not abusive to weak people, and I couldn't care less about money nor ego.
The Wisconsin experience left me reluctant to work with patients in general, which I've somewhat gotten over, but most especially it left me reluctant to trust the people who did me the worst damage: those who weren't even there, yet who withdrew their support without even talking to me to find out my side. That really hurt because I really looked up to some of them.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
We'll never experience victory if we weaken the efforts of those around us. Although I made a vow to never do movement work in Wisconsin again, if a valuable project that needed me came up, I'd have to break down and help because my eyes are forever on the goal. I just want to see these destructive laws overturned.
This experience is also why I try to never get involved in the rumor mill that so badly weakens this movement. I hate that I even have to write this, but if I'm to write the history it has to be the truth.
A wise man once said, "You can accomplish great things if you do not care who takes the credit." I try to live by that. I don't run to the cameras, my time on stage is nerve wracking and short, and I'd rather promote other people than myself. I'm not going to fight over who birthed the J4J, but like anyone, I would like to see the history kept accurate.
WEBSITE LINKS for the WISCONSIN J4J
WISCONSIN: Patients March Across Wisconsin to Protest Prohibition of ...
The patients are calling their march a "Journey for Justice." A similar march took place in Ohio in May. "We are not claiming that it is the best medicine ...
JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE: In Brief May 1997
The first "Journey for Justice" consisted of a five-day, 140-mile trek through Ohio by about a dozen patients, many of whom were in wheelchairs. ...
Patients March for
In May and again in September, groups of seriously ill patients marched to their state capitals in Ohio and Wisconsin, respectively, to protest the laws that prohibit the medicinal use of marijuana. Both events were coordinated by medicinal marijuana organizer Kay Lee.
The first "Journey for Justice" consisted of a five-day, 140-mile trek through Ohio by about a dozen patients, many of whom were in wheelchairs. They arrived in Columbus on May 30.
The second was a week-long, 210-mile journey across Wisconsin. The patients arrived on the steps of the State Capitol building in Madison on September 18, where state Representative Frank Boyle introduced a bill to reduce state penalties for medicinal marijuana use.
The MPP distributed news releases for both events, helping attract a fair amount of media coverage. A statement released by the patients said, "We are not claiming that it is the best medicine for everybody, only that from our clinical experience, it is the best medicine for us. We would like you ... to realize that we are the people who current policies would jail -- at your expense. We are Americans who are denied access to medication that works for us."
Richard Lake was in active support of the Journey for Justice wheelchair trips of medical marijuana patients in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida;
JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE VIDEOS
From Ervin Dargon's Journey For Justice Videos on You Tube
The 2nd Journey for Justice - Wisconsin 1997 - with Newscasts
Jackie Rickert uses Cannabis for Ehlors Danlos Syndrome. Patients and caregivers journey with her to capitol with legislation. George McMahon, one of the legal medical marijuana patients supplied Cannabis by the Federal government, joins the Journey at the Statehouse. "I Am a Patriot" sung by Jody Coats.
THIRD JOURNEY: FLORIDA STYLE
JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE HISTORY