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Los Angeles – Americans for Safe Access has launched a campaign to educate Los Angelenos about U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s attacks on their medical rights. “Coming to a Courtroom Near You” reads the headline over an image of a gagged doctor with a heavily armed DEA agent standing at the ready in the background.Aimed at highlighting the human costs of the escalating war on medical marijuana, this is the first in a series of fullpage ads on the issue, appearing this week in City Beat, Frontiers Magazine and LA Weekly and next week in IN Magazine.
John Ashcroft has been intimidating the sick and dying, shutting down cooperative dispensaries, and jailing the providers whose only crime is compassion. And now he is attempting to punish doctors who simply tell qualified patients that their medical conditions might be helped by marijuana.
A national coalition of 5,500 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is working to protect the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship by raising public awareness about these latest incursions into our civil liberties.
“John Ashcroft’s attacks are hitting not just patients who use marijuana to treat their medical conditions but the right of doctors to even discuss with their patients the possible benefits of the medical use of marijuana' said Steph Sherer, Executive Director for the coalition. “80% of Americans nationwide support medical marijuana for patients helped by it. We know that once people understand what Ashcroft is up to, they will join doctors and patients in fighting him.”
Despite California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which legalized medical use for those who are helped by it, the actions of the Justice Department have significantly limited the ability of patients across the state to safely and reliably get the medicine their doctors have recommended.
The federal assault on medical marijuana has also resulted in the recent prosecution of an increasing number of Southern California residents, including Lynn and Judy Osburn, a Ventura County couple who had helped run and provide marijuana for the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center in West Hollywood, a cooperative dispensary shuttered in 2001 by a DEA raid that drew widespread condemnation from local law enforcement and city officials.