Americans for Safe Access (ASA) Hangs Massive Banner Defending Medical Marijuana Against Bush Administration Attacks

April 17, 2002
San Francisco – Americans for Safe Access today announced its hanging of a 1200 square foot banner on an empty billboard in San Francisco at Ninth and Brannan Streets. The banner reads, “Ashcroft: No War on Patients! Californians Say YES to Medical Marijuana.” Dangling more than 100 feet above the street, the climbers remain with the banner, which can be seen by vehicles getting on and off the Bay Bridge. “Apparently the Bush Administration’s war on drugs includes busting cancer and AIDS patients who use medical marijuana to ease their suffering,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, or ASA – a jab at Drug Czar Asa Hutchinson who is leading the attacks on medical marijuana dispensaries across the state. “Today ASA is launching a vigorous campaign to organize communities in Washington, Oregon, and California to resist federal efforts to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries. It’s time for Ashcroft and the Bush Administration to respect the will of the people.” When asked about medical marijuana during his presidential campaign, President Bush said, “I believe each state can choose that decision as they so choose,” (quoted in Dallas Morning News, October 20, 1999). The Supreme Court ruled last year against “medical necessity” as a valid defense for distribution of medical marijuana to the sick. While the Supreme Court’s ruling was a temporary setback to the states, it had no impact Proposition 215 or on the federal-state constitutional issues raised by medical marijuana laws. In 1996, Californians voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, passing the landmark Prop. 215. The Proposition is resounding affirmation of the voters’ belief in safe access to and a responsible distribution system for medicinal cannabis for patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and other diseases.

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