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(Washington, D.C.) – Patients and doctors are converging today at 10:15am on the steps of Health and Human Services, demanding the government admit that marijuana has medical uses and stop blocking access.
Americans for Safe Access – the patient-advocacy group whose legal petition for changes to government claims was reported today in the Washington Post and covered by CNN – says the protest is necessary to get HHS to act.
'Too many people are suffering. Too many people have died,' said Hilary McQuie, one of the organizers of the protest. “They have the power to fix this problem today.”
The protest is tied to the group's legal action, challenging the government’s insistence that marijuana has no medical use. According to advocates, established research, federal reports and patient experience all show marijuana works for many conditions, but the government has systematically denied scientific findings.
“The Supreme Court would not be hearing the Angel Raich medical marijuana case next month if HHS had just done its job,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access.
A government admission that marijuana has medical use would clear the way to allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients. Currently, nine states have laws permitting patients to legally use it with a doctor’s recommendation, but those laws are at odds with a federal law that ranks marijuana as more dangerous than cocaine or amphetamines. On November 29, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Angel Raich case, an appellate court decision that found certain California medical marijuana patients and their caregivers to be exempt from the federal prohibition.
What: Protest against government misinformation on medical marijuana.
Who: Americans for Safe Access, medical marijuana patients, doctors and advocates.
When: 10:15am, Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Where: Dept. of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, D.C.
###Americans for Safe Access is a national coalition of 10,000 patients, doctors and advocates. For interviews or more information, contact Steph Sherer at (510) 872-7822 or Hilary McQuie at (510) 333-8554.