Medical Marijuana Protest at Congressman's Office 10am Today

FT. LAUDERDALE – Medical marijuana patients, their families and national advocates will be at the office of  Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. today at 10:00 am, protesting his vote to continue imprisoning sick and suffering Americans even in states that have laws protecting them.
Local patients will be joined at Rep. Shaw’s office by the directors of the nation’s largest advocacy group for medical marijuana, a juror who had a change of heart after a high-profile federal trial, and family members of a man serving a ten-year sentence for helping the sick and suffering.
Rep. Shaw was among those whose vote Wednesday continued funding for the federal arrest of patients in states that allow the medical use of marijuana.  The bi-partisan Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment to the appropriations bill for the Commerce-Justice-State Departments would have eliminated funding for federal investigations or prosecutions of patients and providers in the states that allow the sick and dying to use marijuana medicinally. The bill received 148 votes in favor, including 19 of Rep. Shaw’s fellow Republicans, only 70 short of passage.

Since 1996, 11 states – Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington – have adopted medical marijuana laws. The U.S. Justice Department, however, continues to spend millions of dollars arresting patients and their caregivers - even in those states.

Substantial majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents want patients protected from prison. A 2002 Time/CNN poll found that 80% of Americans support legal access to medical marijuana. The Institute of Medicine has determined that nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety 'all can be mitigated by marijuana.' Patients with cancer, AIDS, and MS should be allowed to use medical marijuana according to the American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Bar Association, Kaiser Permanente, and other professional groups.

WHO: Ft. Lauderdale medical marijuana activists and national leaders from Americans for Safe Access.
WHAT: Media event protesting Congressman Shaw’s vote to continue arresting medical marijuana patients.
WHEN: Tomorrow, Friday, July 9, 2004, 10:00-11:00am.
WHERE:  Office of U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw, 1512 East Broward Blvd., Suite #101, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
For interviews or more information, contact William Dolphin at (510) 919-1498. A national coalition of 10,000 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is the largest organization working solely on medical marijuana.