Advocates Pass Out Pot In Front Of SF City Hall

January 10, 2006

Amy Hollyfield, KGO TV - ABC News

Medicinal marijuana advocates in San Francisco showed the feds exactly how they feel about raids on pot clubs by passing out the ganja publicly on city streets right in front of City Hall. Among them a couple already under scrutiny by DEA agents

These are more than just sweets. To these activists this is a sweet way to stick it to the federal government. The treats are filled with marijuana

Steve Smith, medical pot club owner: "The grass roots are blending with the local officials to take a stand against the federal government."

Steve and Cathy Smith gave the marijuana to patients who rely on it to ease their pain. Not only did the move not land them in jail, but they were hauled in to City Hall to be commended by city and state officials.

Chris Daly, SF supervisor: "My constituents need you, San Francisco needs you, this country needs you. Thank you for the work you have done."

The Smiths are getting all this support in response to a federal raid of their medical marijuana club back in December. They weren't arrested, but drug enforcement agents took 122 plants -- severely impacting the couple's ability to serve hundreds of patients.

Lenora Brown, medical marijuana patient: "I's been really bad it's been in bed not able to get out of bed."

The DEA didn't want to talk today, but released this statement: "Anyone, whether a member of a political body, or a private citizen who engages in the illegal distribution or trafficking of drugs could be subject to federal criminal penalties under Title 21 United States code."

That statement certainly implies that federal agents could come down here to City Hall and make some arrests. But a spokeswoman for the DEA says they never discuss enforcement. The threat of possibly being arrested didn't deter some public officials from being very outspoken "

Ross Mirkarimi, SF supervisor: "San Francisco and the state of California can do it without the federal government's help."

Who knows when the smoke will clear in this never ending battle between California and federal law.

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