Medical Cannabis Patients Arrested in San Diego Protest

November 02, 2006

, Associated Press

Police arrested seven pro-medical marijuana activists during a protest outside a drug-abuse prevention conference Tuesday.

The seven were arrested on suspicion of trespassing and included a lawyer with the group that organized the demonstration, authorities said.

Police also ticketed one partially paralyzed man in an electric wheelchair, who broke into tears as he was cited.

"It's a dramatization of the fear patients face every day," said Steph Sherer, the executive director of Americans for Safe Access. "We don't have a choice. We have to use this medication."

Fifty-six percent of California voters approved a medical marijuana law in 1996 allowing qualified patients to use marijuana to relieve symptoms caused by serious ailments.

The drug is illegal under federal law.

Police said the suspects were arrested because they refused to leave when officers told them to disperse.

Federal and local law enforcement agencies have recently cracked down on medical marijuana providers in the county.

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