Californians Protest Federal Crackdown on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

California NORML Press Release – Oct 7, 2011

           SACRAMENTO – Medical marijuana supporters are rallying to protest the Obama administration’s crackdown on medical cannabis dispensaries outside a press conference by U.S. Attorneys at the Sacramento Federal Court House this Friday, Oct. 7th from 10 AM to 1 PM.

           US Attorneys in California have begun sending letters to landlords of dispensaries threatening them with property forfeiture and criminal penalties for violating federal law.

            In a letter to the landlord of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the longest-operating dispensary in California, the US Attorney of Northern California warned that MAMM was operating within “a prohibited distance of a park.”  MAMM, which is officially backed by the city of Fairfax, has been operating without complaint for 15 years.  Federal prosecutors complain that it is located within 1,000 feet of Bolinas Park,  but this is perfectly legal under state and local law.

           “The federal government has no business dictating local zoning issues.,” says California NORML Director Dale Gieringer.  “This is government over-regulation run amok.”

           The DOJ forfeiture threats are the latest in an escalating series of federal attacks on medical marijuana by the  Obama administration:

           • The IRS has assessed crippling penalties on tax-paying dispensaries by denying standard expense deductions.
           • The Department of Treasury has browbeaten banks into closing accounts of medical marijuana collectives.
           • The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has warned firearms dealers not to sell firearms to medical marijuana users.
           • The DEA has blocked a 9-year old petition to reschedule marijuana for medical use, ignoring extensive scientific evidence of its medical efficacy.

           • NIDA has blocked proposed research on medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

           California NORML estimates that the state’s medical marijuana industry generates $1.5 – $4.5 billion in business, over $100 million in taxes, and tens of thousands of  jobs  in the state.

“”With the federal budget on empty, the economy in disarray, our prisons overflowing, and prohibition-related violence raging across the border, it’s an outrageous misuse of federal resources to wage war on marijuana dispensaries,” says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer. “Federal anti-drug bureaucrats are afraid because the dispensaries are proving that it’s possible for marijuana to become a safe, legal, tax-paying industry and so expose their own last-century policies as bankrupt and obsolete.”

           Supporters are urged to call on the President to respect state marijuana laws – White House Hotline: 202 -456-1111.  A bill to let states regulate medical marijuana legally, H.R. 1983, has been introduced by Rep. Barney Frank and has several co-sponsors from California.

Release by Dale Gieringer, Director, California NORML

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