Marijuana activists rally in downtown LA, want end to raids

October 10, 2007

, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES—About 200 people on Thursday protested federal raids on cannabis clinics and urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to compel the Bush administration to back off.

The rally outside the Ronald Reagan State Office Building in downtown lasted more than an hour as medical marijuana activists called for an end to the raids they called illegal and intrusive.

"An attack on safe access is an attack on patients," said Don Duncan, a man whose Hollywood dispensary, California Patient's Group, was shut down by the Drug Enforcement Administration in July. "Los Angeles is where we're going to win the war for safe access in California."

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, which legalized the sale and use marijuana for medicinal purposes, but the drug is still considered illegal under federal law.

Opponents of medical marijuana believe the dispensaries attract crime and make it easier for people, not just those with serious illnesses, to gain access to the drug.

Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana group, said Schwarzenegger should coordinate with the 12 other governors whose states have legalized medical marijuana to send a message to Washington.

"We are tired of coming and protesting about our medicine," Sherer said.

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