Activists deplore Feds’ $500 million medical marijuana war
June 13, 2013
David Downs, San Francisco Chronicle
Medical cannabis patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access issued a report Thursday deploring the Federal government’s estimated $500 million war on medical marijuana patients.
The report, titled, “What’s the Cost?” says that since 1996, the Feds have spent about $500 million on a futile campaign to enforce federal marijuana law in states where the plant is legal for medical use. The Obama Administration has spent $300 million on investigations, raids and forfeiture proceedings like those occurring in San Francisco, ASA finds.
ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes writes in a release that the estimates are conservative. For example, the prosecution of Michigan medical marijuana patient and organ transplant recipient Jerry Duval – who surrendered to federal authorities Tuesday to serve out a 10-year prison sentence – has exacted both an economic and social toll.
“Not only will it cost taxpayers more than $1 million to imprison Duval, but his family has also been devastated by the federal government’s needless prosecution of Jerry and his son Jeremy, as well as the seizure of their family farm worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Remarkably, the Justice Department has never claimed that the Duval family violated Michigan’s medical marijuana law in any way.”
ASA has started a Peace for Patients campaign for people who want to petition, engage elected officials, and write letters to change federal law and protect patients in states where cannabis is lawful.