Medical Marijuana Patients Will Take Sacramento, Protesting DOJ Crackdown

November 06, 2011

, LAist

Medical marijuana patients and supporters will rally in Sacramento on Wednesday to address the recent Department of Justice (DOJ) crackdown in California. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a coalition of advocacy and labor groups and the aforementioned supporters will descend on the federal building at noon to protest DOJ attacks on the Golden State's medical marijuana laws.

ASA California Director Don Duncan, one of the protest organizers, says that "no matter how you spin it, an attack on access to medical marijuana is an attack on patients," per today's news release. He continued, "Not only is this crackdown bad for the economy, workers and much-needed tax revenue, it literally pushes patients into the illicit market and into harm's way. We are sick and tired of being the target of the Obama Administration, and we're calling on the Justice Department to stand down."

All four U.S. Attorneys for California held a joint press conference on October 7 to announce a multi-pronged attack on medical marijuana across the state. Aggressive SWAT-style raids on state compliant producers and distributors of medical marijuana, threats of criminal prosecution and property seizure made against landlords of licensed distributors and threats against local public officials attempting to implement state law are all part of the DOJ strategy, as detailed in today's news release. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has also targeted dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries.

ASA filed suit in federal court nearly two weeks ago to battle the crackdown. The suit claims that the Obama Administration violates the Tenth Amendment by commandeering the lawmaking efforts of local and state legislators. Numerous elected officials in California have also expressed opposition of the attacks, including several members of Congress, State Attorney General Kamala Harris, State Senators Mark Leno and Leland Yee, State Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and Mendocino Supervisor John McCowen.

Wednesday's speakers include Ammiano, Steph Sherer - Executive Director of ASA, Steve D'Angelo of Oakland's licensed dispensary Harborside Health Center, Dan Rush of the United Food and Commercial Workers and Dale Gieringer of California NORML.

A climax to crackdown unrest, the peaceful protest comes on the heels of recent rallies and marches in San Diego (10/18), L.A. (10/24) and San Francisco (10/25).

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