Law Enforcement Shows Cruelty by Harassing Medical Marijuana Patient in New Mexico

Press Release August 28, 2007
Media Contact

Reena Szczepanski at (505) 699-0798

Advocates expressed dismay over the seizure of six medical marijuana seedlings from the Carlsbad home of Mr. Leonard French, a registered medical marijuana patient who has lost his legs and uses a wheelchair.

“It’s obvious that this is a politically motivated stunt designed to intimidate law abiding citizens,” said Reena Szczepanski, of Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s shocking that with all of the pressing public safety issues in our communities that these officers are wasting their time harassing sick people. This is politics at its worst.”

Because local law enforcement colluded with federal authorities in the seizure, state law doesn’t protect Mr. French, who was abiding by all of the rules in the state program.

A press release jointly issued by the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force illustrates the political nature of the raid, reading in part, “Citizens of New Mexico need to be aware that they can still be prosecuted on the federal level even though New Mexico has a law permitting marijuana for medicinal use.”

This is the latest development in the struggle between the people of New Mexico and the federal government. In 2006, a statewide poll found that 75% of New Mexicans support legal access to medical marijuana. Two weeks ago, NM Governor Bill Richardson sent a letter to President George Bush asking him to end his heartless medical marijuana policy. In response to the recent raid, a spokesman for the Governor Bill Richardson was quoted in an AP story that authorities targeting a paraplegic man suffering from a spinal cord injury is “a policy without compassion.”

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

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