Patients to Plant a Million Pot Seeds at Oakland City Hall Sunday

February 13, 2004

Oakland – Medical marijuana patients plan to plant more than a million marijuana seeds at Oakland City Hall on Sunday.

The protest is in response to a proposal the Oakland City Council is to consider Tuesday that would rollback the number of medical marijuana dispensaries the city allows to operate, as well as the number of plants dispensaries, and possibly patients, would be allowed to maintain. The new rules, if implemented, would also prohibit patients from consuming their medication at the dispensaries.

“Oakland has been at the forefront of ensuring safe access for medical marijuana patients,” said Steph Sherer, executive director for the national medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. “We want them to understand the dire consequences of their proposed action.”

The new restrictions, proposed by Oakland Council President Ignacio de la Fuente, target the Oaksterdam area along Broadway at 30th where many dispensaries operate. Only four would be allowed to remain open under the proposed changes, and the number of plants per patient would be lowered from the current limit of 72 to only 18. Whether the proposed plant limit would also apply to individual patients, some of whom require more than 6 pounds of marijuana a year to control their ailments, is unclear.

Questions also remain as to the legality of some of the changes. Legal experts have suggested that the proposal would bring Oakland City Council into conflict with the new California state law on medical marijuana, SB420, which sets minimum standards for permissible marijuana quantities and recognizes patient cooperatives for cultivation and distribution that the Oakland proposal also restricts.

The number of marijuana seeds to be planted in the City Hall protest symbolizes the number of medical marijuana plants activists say could be eliminated by the proposal the City Council is considering.

WHAT:       Protest planting of a million marijuana seeds. Great visuals of patients garbed in gardening gear, wielding rakes and shovels.

WHEN:       Noon, Sunday, February 15, 2004.

WHERE:       Oakland City Hall, 14th & Broadway, Oakland, California.

WHO:       Medical marijuana patients and activists.

A national coalition of 5,500 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is the largest organization working solely on medical marijuana.  For interviews or more information, contact ASA’s communications director, William Dolphin, at (510) 919-1498 or asa@williamdolphin.com.
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