April 2006 Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 4

DEA Raids Demonstrate Feds Duplicity

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has continued its attack on medical marijuana patients and providers over the past few weeks. On March 14, the DEA broke down the door of a small private patient collective in Sky Valley, CA. Three days later, DEA agents raided several medical marijuana edible manufacturing facilities in the Bay Area.

In the Sky Valley raid, patient Garry Silva sustained a broken collar bone and lacerations to his face when DEA agents busted down his door seeking Silva's 70 plants. Silva was not arrested or charged with any crime, but was warned by agents that he would be arrested if he continues to grow his medicine. Activists nationwide responded quickly to this raid by organizing at least 22 actions in 11 states on March 16.

While activists protested on this national day of action, Beyond Bomb, a medicinal candy company, was raided at multiple locations by over 70 DEA agents. Twelve people were arrested, who now face manufacturing and distribution charges and years in jail. Most bails have been set at $100,000, and the cases will proceed in U.S. District Court. According to the Associated Press, the raid was made possible with the cooperation of local police in Richmond, Oakland, Lafayette and two county narcotics enforcement teams.

The fact that the DEA continues its war against medical marijuana with impunity, and uses the resources of local law enforcement to do so, is entirely unacceptable. In response to this continued harassment, multiple Members of Congress, at the behest of ASA, have requested an investigation by the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) into the spending practices of the DEA related to medical marijuana.

Announcing the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access

A dispensary. A legal support hotline for patients. A diverse network of rural and urban patient support groups. Only in California, right? Wrong. These are part of a burgeoning medical marijuana renaissance occurring in the traditionally conservative state of Colorado.

Image of a Colorado rally CO advocates rally in solidarity after DEA raids on dispensaries in San Diego (December 2005).

One of the most longstanding medical marijuana states, Colorado has recently made considerable strides towards securing safe and reliable access for its approximately 750 licensed patients. Many of these changes have been spearheaded by the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access (CCSA), a shared project of ASA and Sensible Colorado, which has emerged as the state's primary patient resource.

Begun in August 2005, the CCSA serves as a combined organizing and legal campaign aimed at protecting the rights of medical marijuana patients in Colorado. Through litigation, education, and organizing, the CCSA has helped Colorado reach a number of important milestones including opening its first dispensary and medical marijuana clinic, fostering the growth of numerous patient support groups, and establishing positive case law for patients. The campaign's well-traveled website features an array of legal and educational materials covering issues from housing and eviction to law enforcement encounters.

The CCSA's activities have been featured in numerous state and local media outlets and staff members will be holding a fundraiser for the project on April 20th at the Oriental Theater in North Denver. To learn more about Colorado's vibrant and growing medical marijuana community, please visit: www.SafeAccessColorado.org or call: (720) 890-4247

ASA's Four Year History & Time Line

In just four years, ASA has become the largest medical marijuana organization in the country with more than 28,000 members in 78 cities working on our campaigns and projects! During this time, ASA has assisted 9,000 patients with navigating the legal system, helped 20,000 patients with general information, generated 200,000 calls and e-mails to congress, organized more than 20 days of action concerning federal policies, provided court support for 60 medical marijuana cases, conducted at least 100 legal trainings for 10,000 patients, led 50 activists trainings for 4,000 advocates, generated 5,000 print stories, organized over 2,000 meetings with elected officials, passed 29 regulations permitting medical marijuana dispensaries in CA, created patient focused materials, and has become the nation's leading resources for up-to-date information on medical marijuana issues.

Image of ASA ASA's first action, a banner drop on a prominent billboard in San Francisco, demanding: "ASHCROFT: NO WAR ON PATIENTS!"

  • Apr 2002: ASA launches with a 1200 sq. ft Banner Drop in San Francisco
  • Jun 2002: 55 cities serve the DEA "Cease and Desist" orders
  • 2002-2006: ASA organizes court support for more than 30 federal defendants
  • 2002-2006: ASA implements National Emergency Response actions nearly a dozen times, following DEA raids
  • Sep 2002: ASA mobilizes over 1,000 activists to protest the 10 year sentence of Bryan Epis
  • Oct 2002: ASA organizes a California stakeholder conference
  • Oct-Nov 2002: ASA does a 26-city Know Your Rights training tour
  • Jan-Feb 2003: ASA completed a regional student training tour
  • Jan 2003: Epis Billboard Campaign
  • Jan-Apr 2003: ASA organizes the Juror's Revolt in Ed Rosenthal's case
  • Feb 2003: Evict the DEA actions
  • Nov 2003: ASA protests Drug Czar tour in several cities
  • Mar 2004: ASA creates the "Raich" defense in federal cases
  • May-Jun 2004: ASA trains over 600 CA Public Defenders on defending medical marijuana patients Â
  • Aug 2004: Bryan Epis released from prison!
  • Oct 2004: ASA files the Data Quality Act Petition & Protests at HHS
  • Dec 2004: ASA begins Motion for Return of Property Campaign by suing the City of Emeryville
  • Feb 2005: ASA files suit against CHP
  • Apr 2005: ASA sues the City of Fresno
  • May 2005: CA Training tour prepares activists for Dispensary Regulations
  • Jun 2005: ASA works with AG and others to clarify the impact of the Supreme Court ruling
  • July 2005: ASA organizes nationwide memorials in response to the suicide of Steve Mc Williams
  • Aug 2005: ASA changes CHP policy
  • Oct 2005: Nationwide protests against HHS for their delay on the DQA
  • Jan 2006: Protests follow San Diego Lawsuit against the state
  • Jan 2006: ASA organizes HopeNet support press conference
  • Feb 2006: ASA granted cert by CA Supreme Court to argue medical marijuana employment case
  • Mar 2006: Congress calls on GAO to research DEA expenditures on medical marijuana

You're Invited: Three ASA Events this Month

Tues, April 18th: ASA Cocktail Reception at the Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. from 6-8 PM

Enjoy stunning views of Washington D.C. and meet our Guest of Honor, Barbara T. Roberts Ph.D. Suggested donations are $100, $250, and $500.

Wed, April 19th: ASA Birthday Reception at Richard Wolfe's Home in San Francisco, CA from 6-9 PM

This gathering is the premiere of Richard Wolfe's replica of the "Star Trek Enterprise" and will feature live music, refreshments and cocktails. Suggested donations are $150, $200, and $500 and include entrance into the Bash at Café Cocomo.

Wed, April 19th: ASA Birthday Bash at Cafe Cocomo in San Francisco, CA from 8 PM - 1 AM

Happy Birthday to ASA! The club will be featuring hits from the 70's, 80's, and 90's with half-priced drinks until 9:00 PM. Tickets are $12 for medical marijuana patients and NORML conference attendees; $20 for the general public.

Visit www.safeaccessnow.org for more info and to purchase tickets.

National Action Alert:
Demand the Senate Protect Medical Marijuana Patients Nationwide

The DEA is at it again! On March 14, 2006, DEA agents raided a small patient collective in Sky Valley, CA, injuring a patient suffering from degenerative disk disease and nerve damage. Urge the Senate to use its oversight powers to compel Health and Human Services to answer our Rescheduling and Data Quality petitions without further delay. Please visit our take action page to write a letter to your senators: www.SafeAccessNow.org/DEAResponse