Medical Marijuana Protest at Oakland California Highway Patrol Office Tuesday

OAKLAND – Tuesday at Noon, medical marijuana patients and local activists will be demonstrating in front of the California Highway Patrol headquarters in Oakland. They will be protesting a June 30th incident on Market Street that ended with four suspects being turned over to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency after CHP officers uncovered a marijuana-growing operation there.
Activists claim the warehouse facility was legally producing medical cannabis for state-authorized patients, but the CHP decision to immediately bring in federal authorities prevented any proof from being offered and means the four people arrested, and possibly others, will likely face charges mandating minimum sentences of ten years or more.
“The CHP did not follow its own policy in this case,” said local advocate Don Duncan. “The feds should have never been involved.”
CHP and DEA accounts of how the raid took place are contradictory, with officials initially claiming that a routine traffic stop of a delivery van led officers to the warehouse, then admitting that a surveillance operation was underway. CHP spokespeople have said federal authorities were brought in after officers concluded that the marijuana was not medical, but have not been able to explain why they did not then rely on state charges being filed.
Medical marijuana activists are sensitive on the distinction between federal and state charges, as other California patients and caregivers have been handed to federal authorities after state law enforcement or prosecutors decided that they could not win a conviction in state court. Despite recent court victories, federal law still does not recognize any medical use for marijuana, and defendants cannot expect to be able to present any evidence at trial showing they were in compliance with state law.
“We passed Proposition 215 to avoid this exact situation,” Duncan added. “CHP officers are sworn to uphold the laws of this state, not subvert them.”
While organizers say they are planning a dignified show of support for the patients who have lost their medicine as the result of this bust, peaceful civil disobedience is expected. 
WHEN:      Tuesday, July 13, 2004, Noon
WHERE:  California Highway Patrol headquarters, 3601 Telegraph Ave., Oakland  
WHO:        Medical marijuana patients and activists
WHAT:      Protest denouncing the hand-over of suspects to federal authorities
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.