Anti-DEA Rallies Held Over Medical Marijuana Enforcement

January 11, 2011

, WLNS TV 6 News (MI)

A judge in Grand Rapids has postponed a hearing to determine if the state should cooperate with a federal subpoena seeking medical marijuana records. The delay was due to a last-minute request to intervene by a group called "the Michigan association of compassion clubs." The Drug Enforcement Administration won't talk about the Lansing-area probe, but will say they're not cracking down on medical marijuana users.

More than 45,000 people in Michigan are registered to use marijuana legally. The postponement of that scheduled hearing almost foiled the plans of medical marijuana advocates. Members of "Americans for safe access" coordinated nationwide rallies in Las Vegas, Grand Rapids and Lansing to coincide with the hearing. The Grand Rapids rally was canceled, but the Las Vegas and Lansing ones went off without a hitch.

Medical marijuana advocates from the Lansing area made some noise. They're raising their voices against what they call increasing federal involvement in states where medical marijuana is legal. Many have personal ties to the issue.

John Roberts, protestor: "I've been raided twice. First time they raided me they didn't even take the plants, they took all the medicine we made for the patients."

John Roberts is a medical marijuana user, caregiver and advocate. He says the feds need to stay out of the confidential records of medical marijuana users. Americans for safe access spokesperson Robin Schneider says the bigger issue at play here is state's rights.

Robin Schneider, spkprsn Americans for safe access: "63 percent of Michiganders voted to allow for the use of medicinal marijuana and it's time for the federal government to take a step back and allow us to engage of the use of medical marijuana peacefully and privately."

The protestors called on State Attorney General Bill Schuette to stand up for their rights. Schuette could not be reached for comment. There were only a couple of dozen people who attended the rally in Lansing. Organizers attribute that to the cold weather. They expect more people to come to rallies they may hold in the summer months.



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