California NORML Press Release – Nov 7, 2011
Prop. 215 supporters from around the state will be protesting the federal government’s attack on medical marijuana at the U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento, 501 I Street, this Wednesday, Nov. 9th at noon. The protest is sponsored by a coalition of organizations including California NORML.
This week marks the 15th anniversary of California’s landmark medical marijuana law, Prop. 215. Since 1996, sixteen states and three foreign countries have followed California’s lead in legalizing medical marijuana; dozens of scientific studies have confirmed the medical value of marijuana; and thousands of patients and doctors have found marijuana to be uniquely beneficial for a growing list of maladies including nausea, appetite loss, chronic pain, muscle spasticity, auto-immune diseases, psychiatric disorders, etc.
In the meantime, the federal government has staunchly refused to recognize the medical value of marijuana, choosing instead to launch hundreds of raids, arrests, lawsuits and threats against persons trying to provide it in accordance with California law. While Prop 215 didn’t explicitly establish a legal distribution system, it called on the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide “safe and affordable distribution to all patients in medical need.”
“Fifteen years after passage of Prop. 215, it is a disgrace that our federal government has refused to heed the voters’ mandate to provide legal access to medical marijuana,” says Cal NORML Director Dale Gieringer, a co-author of Prop. 215. “Instead, all we have seen is ham-fisted arrests, raids and harassment in defense of a bankrupt, prohibitionist policy that denies Americans’ right of access to medicine.”
One month ago in Sacramento, California’s four US Attorneys announced a new Justice Department offensive against medical marijuana, threatening landlords with property forfeiture if they allow dispensaries to operate. Targets of the crackdown have included some of the best-regarded dispensaries in the state, noted for their efforts to operate in full and open compliance with state and local regulations. California NORML estimates that the medical marijuana industry now accounts for some $1.5 to $4 billion in revenues, tens of thousands of jobs, and over $100 million in sales taxes.
“In this time of rising health costs and economic distress, it is an outrageous misuse of federal resources to attack medical marijuana,” says Gieringer. “President Obama should respect his campaign pledge not to use Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state medical marijuana laws.”
Cal NORML is calling on the administration to reschedule marijuana for medical use and asking Congress to support a bill by Rep. Barney Frank, H.R. 1983, which would allow states to regulate medical marijuana legally without federal interference.