Medical marijuana activists are arrested

September 23, 2002

Elizabeth Hume -- Bee Staff Writer,

Nearly 30 advocates for medical marijuana were arrested and cited for public disturbance during a protest at the federal courthouse on Monday. The protest started at noon on the south lawn of the State Capitol. Hundreds of protesters from all over California gathered to make a stance against the federal government's recent raids of medical marijuana suppliers. 'It's culminated in a huge outcry and the anger has really been building,' said Judy Appel, the deputy director of legal affairs for Drugs Policy Alliance. 'We hope to send a clear message to Washington that wewant the government to stop impeding clear access to medicine.' An hour later, about 250 protesters walked the few blocks to the federal building at Fifth and I streets. 'We'd like (Gov. Gray) Davis and (Attorney General Bill) Lockyer to follow through with their statements and support,' Hilary McQuie said. 'We're giving them time so our main focus was the federal, not the state, buildings.' For more than an hour, students, advocates and patients sat in front of the entrance to the federal building, demanding that President Bush pardon Bryan Epis, who was found guilty of conspiracy and of manufacturing the drug in July. 'I'm very eager to have the federal government back off and accept the laws of California,' said Don Duncan, a Berkeley resident who was one of the protesters arrested. 'I think everyone was very encouraged today. A lot of people are leaving Sacramento today feeling energized by it.'

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