Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush’s Crackdown on Medical Marijuana

by Heidi Lypps

The month of September has seen a dramatic escalation of the War on Drugs in California, with DEA raids on two leading medical marijuana dispensaries. On September 5th, DEA agents arrested Valerie and Michael Corral of WAMM (Wo/Men’s alliance for Medical Marijuana) and destroyed 150 marijuana plants intended for use by WAMM’s members, most of whom are terminally ill. On September 12, the Petaluma-based Genesis 1:29 medical cannabis dispensary was raided, and Robert Schmidt, the owner, was arrested by the DEA. On the same day, the agents also raided a garden in Sebastopol, which supplied the Genesis dispensary.

These raids are only the most recent actions in an escalating DEA campaign directed at medical cannabis co-ops in California. The Petaluma and Santa Cruz co-ops were among California’s most carefully law-abiding: each required members to have a doctor’s prescription, issued ID cards, and worked with local officials to shape agreements and protocols for operation.

The passage of California’s Proposition 215 in 1996 legalized marijuana for medical use with a physician’s prescription, but any use of marijuana remains a federal crime. President Bush promised in a 2000 campaign speech to leave medical marijuana as a states’ rights issue, saying “I believe each state can choose that decision as they so choose.” The DEA’s recent actions, however, speak louder than those words; some are calling it a “War on the sick”, saying that the DEA has gone too far in targeting those who supply medical marijuana to the ill in compliance with California law.

Despite state law, since 2001 many groups and individuals supplying medical cannabis in California have found themselves raided and imprisoned by the DEA. These include the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, the Market Street Cannabis Club, CHAMPS, the Oakland Cannabis Resource Center, Santa Rosa’s Aiko Compassion Club, Steve and Michele Kubby, Ed Rosenthal, and others.

The recent busts were carried out without the support, or even the knowledge, of local law enforcement, prompting California Attorney General Bill Lockyer to question the incursion of federal agents; he requested a meeting with federal Drug Enforcement Agency director Asa Hutchison and Attorney General John Ashcroft to discuss the WAMM bust. “A medical marijuana provider such as the Santa Cruz collective represents little danger to the public and is certainly not a concern which would warrant diverting scarce federal resources,” says Lockyer.

Drug policy reform advocates fear that the raids in California are part of a carefully coordinated campaign on the part of the DEA to snuff out the burgeoning public opposition to the War on Drugs. Eight states – California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon and Washington – have legalized medical marijuana in some form, and Attorney General Ashcroft and other federal officials may be eager to break the growing movement before it gains further ground.

Drug policy reform advocates have planned actions in response to the DEA’s campaign to eradicate medical marijuana in California. In Santa Cruz, WAMM and the Santa Cruz City council have planned a version of the Boston Tea party for September 17th, where they will defy federal officials and distribute medical marijuana to gravely ill patients.

On September 23rd, the group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is sponsoring a rally at the state capitol in Sacramento to protest these heavy-handed tactics against critically ill patients, and advocate for compassionate use of medical marijuana. They ask all like-minded individuals to join them at the rally.

The ASA event will start with a press conference and rally at 9 am in front of the Federal Building (501 I Street, Sacramento) and will proceed to a demonstration at the Capitol starting at noon, and later a civil disobedience action at an undisclosed location.

Heidi Lypps is Director of Communications at the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics. She can be reached at: nemo@cognitiveliberty.org Notes

Further information about the September 23rd demonstration can be found on the Americans for Safe Access Web site: http://www.safeaccessnow.org

WAMM’s Web site: http://www.wamm.org/

Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s statement regarding the WAMM case: http://caag.state.ca.us/newsalerts/2002/02-103.htm

AP News on the WAMM raid: http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/14/thread14018.shtml

Santa Rosa Press-Democrat coverage of the Petaluma raid: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/local/news/13pot_a1.html

 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]