On High Terrorism Alert Day, Federal Agents Focus on Busting San Francisco’s Voter-Approved Medical Marijauna Providers

Press Release February 11, 2002
Media Contact

Veronica Davison at 916-444-3751 or Tony Newman at 510-208-7711

On the day when the U.S. Government is supposed to be on their highest alert since September 11, DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson has chosen to focus federal law enforcement resources on busting medical marijuana providers in Northern California. This occurred on the same day Hutchinson is to speak at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club; as well as President Bush’s release of the 2002 national drug control strategy.

Hutchinson will be speaking TONIGHT – Tuesday Feb. 12 at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, 595 Market Street, 5:15-7:00 PM

The Sixth Street Harm Reduction Center in San Francisco, one of the targeted facilities, provided medical marijuana and assistance to AIDS, cancer and other patients, as permitted under state law.

“Why the federal government is focusing on keeping medicine from sick people at a time like this is beyond me,” said Glenn Backes, Health Policy Director for the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading drug policy reform organization. “The majority of Californians voted for this compassionate policy. Hutchinson’s actions are simply undemocratic.”

Today’s raids follow the Los Angeles Cannabis Club raid last year, run by Scott Imler. According to Imler, “Asa Hutchinson has compromised the health of hundreds and hundreds of Californians. He should be offering an apology to the families of our dead members, not demonizing their memories with his drug war vitriol.”

Last August Hutchinson resigned his seat in the House of Representatives to lead what he termed the “anti-drug effort.” Within two months of accepting the position as Administrator of the DEA, Hutchinson launched what has turned in to an assault on patients who use medical marijuana. With complete disregard for the fact that California voters passed Proposition 215 (The Compassionate Use Act of 1996), in October 2001 approximately 30 DEA agents raided and closed the West Hollywood-based Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center.

Following the Los Angeles raid more than 1,000 AIDS, cancer, and patients suffering from other illnesses were denied access to the medicine that voters across the state, legislators, the medical community, and law enforcement agreed they should have access to.

California is not alone in passing a medical marijuana initiative; voters in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington have done so as well. In addition, Hawaii’s Governor signed a bill into law that protects seriously ill patients who use marijuana medically from local and state criminal prosecution. Many are concerned that California will become a model for Hutchinson’s nation-wide assault on suffering patients and states rights.

For further comment: Scott Imler can be reached at: 323-791-5502 or 323-874-0811
Glenn Backes can be reached at: 916-444-3751

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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