Federal medical marijuana/Compassionate IND patient George McMahon passed away Saturday Nov. 30, according to a report on Facebook quoting a family member.
On March 16, 1990, George became the fifth patient admitted to the IND program. Jacki Rickert was approved in December 1990. Interestingly enough, had I been able to locate a doctor willing to deal with the bureaucratic hurdles, I might have been approved in the late 1970s. Robert Randall and my federal representatives sent me copies of the application, but my private practice doctor was unwilling to take on such a burden.
George McMahon was the second federal patient I met, the first being Bob Randall, at a 1979 hearing at the Capitol. When I went to the Capitol on Sept. 18, 1997 to await the arrival of the Journey for Justice, I basically knew no one in the nascent Wisconsin medical cannabis movement. I was in rough shape myself, my first major outing after surviving a life-threatening staph infection I was given removing staples from the heart lung pump site in my groin spending two weeks in isolation at UW Hospital.
George was very welcoming and we chatted quite a bit before the wheelchair marchers from the Journey arrived, led by Jacki Rickert. This was also my first meeting with her. She later invited me into a meeting in Frank Boyle's office that day.
I again ran into George in April 2000 at the first Patients Out of Time conference in Iowa City and the University of Iowa, where I also met other medical cannabis pioneers including the late Dr. Tod Mikuriya, the late IND patient #14 Barbara Douglass, and many others. Jacki and I were later both named to Patients Out of Times board of advisors.
In 2007, Sen. Jon Erpenbach was chair of the Senate Health committee with Democrats in the rare position of holding the majority, and helped line up witnesses for an informational hearing the senator scheduled and held Nov. 14 of that year. We raised funds so George could fly in from Iowa via a private plane. Due to the short amount of daylight in mid-November Wisconsin days, George had to fly out immediately after the hearing so we did not get to spend much time with him that day.
There are now two remaining IND patients, Elvy Musikka (federal patient #3) and Irv Rosenfeld (patient # 2). It's sad to see all these pioneers crossing over, who like myself were drafted into a war for a forbidden medicine, the one that works best for us.
I mention George McMahon three times in my new book, The Rise and Fall of Cannabis Prohibition in Wisconsin, his appearance at Harvest Fest in 1990, at the Capitol in 1997 for the Journey for Justice, and his 2007 testimony before an informational hearing on medical cannabis. Learn more anout my book here.