Protesters rally for medical marijuana

July 16, 2005

, The Mercury News

Hundreds of fired-up pot smokers and their supporters marched in Santa Cruz Saturday to protest the federal government's blows against medicinal marijuana.

The rally was organized by the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana.

The protesters, some in wheelchairs and hoisting pot plants, were joined by five of seven city council members and Santa Cruz County Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt.

Wormhoudt urged the crowd to stand tough on medicinal marijuana despite the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision threatening continued use of the drug.

The court ruled last month that federal drug laws making marijuana illegal take precedence over state laws allowing pot for medical reasons.

'We are fighting back,' vowed Graham Boyd, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's national Drug Law Reform Project, which moved to Santa Cruz last summer.

Earlier this month, California health officials suspended a program that issued medicinal marijuana users state-issued identification cards.

State Health Director Sandra Shewry asked the state attorney general's office to review the Supreme Court ruling to determine whether the ID cards could put patients and state employees at risk of federal prosecution.

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