Medical Marijuana Activists to “Evict the DEA” Feb. 18

Oakland and San Francisco –Activists will “evict the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)” for criminal violations of medical marijuana patients’ and voters’ rights on the Americans for Safe Access (ASA) Nationwide Day of Direct Action, Feb. 18. Currently, 40 medical marijuana patients and providers are facing federal charges and legitimate medical marijuana patients continue to be harassed and intimidated by the threat of DEA attacks.

The protests against the DEA precede President Bush’s appointment of a DEA Administrator. The likely candidate, acting DEA Administrator John Brown, has been responsible for nine raids on medical marijuana clinics since May 2002—denying thousands of patients access to one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. Brown’s confirmation hearings in the Senate will be contentious as Senators are expected to question him on the DEA raids and his overall opinion of medical marijuana.

In a case that will likely be brought up in the confirmation hearings and has renewed outrage and gained national media attention, Oakland medical marijuana provider Ed Rosenthal was convicted by a federal court for felony cultivation of marijuana earlier this month. Rosenthal, who was deputized by Oakland to grow medical marijuana, joins two other medical marijuana distributors convicted in federal courts. Jurors in the case were not allowed to hear the phrase “medical marijuana.”

Currently, medical marijuana activists nationwide are pressuring Members of Congress to introduce legislation allowing for an “affirmative defense” in federal courtrooms in states where medical marijuana is legal. Affirmative defense would have allowed Rosenthal to explain that growing medical marijuana is legal under California state law. [NBC’s Dateline program is airing a one hour special on the federal state conflict over medical marijuana, highlighting both the jurors and the defendant in Ed Rosenthal’s trial on Feb. 21.]

“As part of the 80 percent of Americans who support the legalization of medical marijuana, we have taken all of the legal steps available to us. On Feb. 18 we will evict the DEA and rally for affirmative defense,” says Steph Sherer “Unless juries are better informed about medical marijuana, more people are going to jail.”

WHO: Americans for Safe Access, Medical Marijuana patients, providers, advocates and supporters
WHAT: Theater and Civil Disobedience (Oakland) to Evict the DEA for violations of patients’ and voters’ rights
WHERE: Oakland and San Francisco Federal Buildings
WHEN: 12 Noon