Californians Protest DEA War on Medical Marijuana

Jun 6, 2002 – California saw spirited rallies against the DEA in a nationwide day of protest organized by Americans for Safe Access.

Santa Rosa, where the DEA recently raided the Aiko patients’ co-operative, was the scene of the nation’s largest protest. Some 300 demonstrators turned out, closing the federal building to the public. KSRO talk show host Pat Thurston joined five or six others to block the doorway in civil disobedience. Police were highly cooperative, and no one was arrested. Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin sent a representative expressing solidarity with the demonstration.

In Oakland, a crowd of one hundred protesters shut down the entire federal building to the public (employees were forced to use side entrances). Cease & desist orders were prominently taped over the entrance windows of the building. Don Duncan (shown here with CAN director Debbie Goldberry) called the DEA office, which refused to parley. Passing motorists, including an ambulance and fire truck, honked their horns in support.

In San Francisco, scores of patients picketed the federal building. Sup. Mark Leno came to voice his support. A group of protesters were arrested sitting in front of the entrance but released without charges.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi sent a letter of support through her office in the building: “I join today in opposing the recent actions of the DEA which have made access to medicinal marijuana unavailable to people suffering from serious illness… The findings of scientific research, the will of the voters of the state of California and compassion for people with serious illnesses all argue against the actions the DEA is taking.”

In Sacramento, the DEA office was closed for the day as patients came out to protest. Passing motorists honked their horns in support. Sacramento County Sheriffs turned out in force, but kept a respectful distance from the protesters.

In San Jose, over 50 patients led by the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana were refused entry to the DEA office as they attempted to deliver petitions. WAMM director Valerie Corral subsequently succeeded in delivering their message via telephone.

In Riverside, a score of patients led by the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project protested outside the DEA office. They delivered a message to Rep. Mary Bono asking her to co-sponsor medical marijuana legislation, but her office said that more scientific evidence was needed.

In West Hollywood, supporters of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center entered into the second day of an “open-ended hunger strike and encampment” in protest of the government’s move to forfeit the club’s building. Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg dropped by to express her support. The protest is continuing all summer long outside the LACRC’s building at 7494 Santa Monica Blvd.

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