San Francisco Voters Set to Decide on Historical Medical Marijuana Initiative

Press Release November 3, 2002
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 510-812-3126 or Judy Appel at 510-812-3128

In response to federal government raids of medical marijuana clinics and cultivators across California and in San Francisco, San Francisco Supervisor Mark Leno has proposed a local ballot initiative that will allow the city to consider growing and distributing marijuana for medical purposes, the first initiative of its kind in the country.

According to the “Who’s Endorsing Whom” guide in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, over 90% of San Francisco’s politicians, organizations and publications support Proposition S. Drug Policy Alliance, the leading national organization committed to ending the War on Drugs and promoting drug policies based in common sense, public health and human rights has been working actively with Sup. Mark Leno’s office in support of the initiative. The Alliance, which has been responsible for introducing successful drug policy reform initiatives throughout the country, including California’s Proposition 36, the treatment instead of incarceration initiative, regards Proposition S to be a powerful endorsement of a growing national sentiment in favor of the use of medicinal marijuana.

“Proposition S is a direct response to John Ashcroft and the DEA’s attempts to punish critically ill patients and their caregivers,” says Judy Appel of Drug Policy Alliance, “We believe the care of the critically ill is a priority for San Francisco voters.”

If the initiative passes, the City of San Francisco will investigate a local growth and distribution system for patients and their caregivers to more effectively implement Proposition 215, California’s medical marijuana initiative that passed in 1996.

Approval of Prop S “would show is that San Francisco is a compassionate place, trying to make sure that an effective therapy is in place for the people who need it,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, head of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has issued approximately 3,700 identification cards to patients and their caregivers who have demonstrated a medical need for marijuana. Last year, the city declared itself a sanctuary for the use, cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. If Prop. S passes, it would further recognize San Francisco’s intention to protect patients from federal government intrusions.

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