Patients Rally, Police Raid
October 15, 2007 | Don Duncan
On Thursday, October 11th, 300 medical cannabis patients and advocates rallied in front of the Governor's office in downtown Los Angeles demanding that he stand up for patients' rights and the will of California voters and lawmakers. Later that night night, the DEA and LAPD staged yet another raid a one of Los Angeles' most respected collectives, the Arts District Healing Center (ADHC). Dozens of protesters turned out again to defend ADHC, which serves patients just blocks from City Hall. It is disheartening to see our local police department continue to support these harmful and unnecessary raids – despite clear guidance from LAPD Veteran and City Council Member Dennis Zine and his colleagues that the City intends to regulate medical cannabis facilities instead of close them. It is crucial that City Council members move forward quickly with a proposed resolution calling on an end to cooperation between the LAPD and DEA on medical cannabis raids. The image of our police department has been battered of late by brutality and scandal. This city does not need to see the men and women who should be heroes doing the work of villains. I was so proud of my fellow Angelinos and our guests from as far away as Rhode Island who stood up twice yesterday. It is a tremendous credit to local organizers that this constituency is so well trained and prepared to respond to an emergency on short notice. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) staff and volunteers leapt into action – sending hundreds of text messages and thousands of email alerts about the raid and protest less than one one half an hour after in began. Volunteers started calling phone trees prepared in advance for just this situation. ASA members showed up with signs and bull horns they keep in their cars in case of a federal raid. We will need all of those skills and dedication to keep pace with the continuing escalation of federal attacks on patients’ access in Los Angeles. We will likely face more raids in the near future, and some advocates will escalate their opposition using tactics of non-violent resistance, non-cooperation, and civil disobedience. The Los Angeles Chapter of ASA is prepared to train and support these advocates all along the way. We will continue to face these raids until we finally succeed in harmonizing federal law with the laws of California and the other states that allow for medical cannabis. Support from our Governor and other public figures is an important part of that effort. We also need to educate Members of Congress and their staffs so they are prepared to solve this problem once and for all. Every single day, ASA staff is working in Washington, DC, to defend patients in Los Angeles and nationwide. It makes a tremendous difference in their work when elected officials hear from their constituency about medical cannabis. Our DC staff can tell you first hand: your calls and letters matter. The next few months may be tough in Los Angeles. Please join us to fight back. On Thursday, I told the crowd at the rally that Los Angeles is where we will win the battle for safe access in California. That battle in underway in earnest right now. Thank you to those who have already joined the fight. We need everyone else! The next LA-ASA meeting will be on Saturday, October 20, at 1:00 at the Patient ID Center. Get a map or public transit information at http://www.ASAaction.org You can join the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research right now – http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/Join You can also sign up for our emergency text message alert to be notified about DEA raids at http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/RaidAlert See you at the meeting! See you in the streets!