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:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail