PATIENTS PUSH BACK AFTER DEA RAIDS IN SANTA ROSA

June 01, 2002
NATIONWIDE – Under the banner “Americans For Safe Access”, activists in 55 cities nationwide will attempt to disrupt business-as-usual on June 6th at local outposts of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Patients and their supporters vowed to ratchet up the fight for state medical marijuana laws following raids on dispensaries operating in Santa Rosa, California on Wednesday that resulted in two arrests. Over the weekend, trainings in dozens of cities will cover non-violent civil disobedience and complement the barrage of letters, faxes, phone calls and other correspondence to decision makers that the group is working to generate in the weeks ahead. Now legal in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, dispensaries are the only safe source for seriously ill patients to access medical marijuana. “These raids are criminal,” says Steph Sherer, Executive Director with Americans for Safe Access “nine states and 73 percent of the American public believe that medical marijuana should be safe and legal, yet the DEA is now working harder than ever to turn these patients into criminals.” One of those patients is Cathy Jordan. Cathy suffers with Lou Gehrig’s Disease; a terminal condition that her doctors said would end her life by age 41. Today, she is 52 and as healthy as ever. In large part, Cathy attributes her health to the marijuana cigarettes she smokes under the advice of four of Florida’s most prominent neurologists. “Marijuana helps me stay alive,” says Johnson, “and when you’re terminally ill, you should have the right to do what ever it takes to stay alive.” On June 6th, Cathy will join with Americans for Safe Access in front of the Tampa office of the DEA, the agency she says is obstructing her safe access to her prescribed medicine. Now, with new pressure from the Bush Administration to connect the “war on terror” to the “war on drugs” under the rubric of “narcoterrorism” the Agency is aggressively targeting state laws that permit medical marijuana. This new push to crackdown on “renegade states” will receive a final green light on June 7th when lawyers expect the United States District Court for Northern California to finalize a decision ruling that Federal drug prohibitions supercede state laws. During the “day of direct action”, compassionate use advocates will employ a host of non-violent tactics to get their point across. According to the “Cease and Desist” order that the group plans to post prominently at all 55 DEA offices across the nation, “effective immediately, any person who makes unauthorized entry into medical marijuana dispensaries operating lawfully under state jurisdiction will be subject to coordinated grass-roots resistance.”

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