#250 Telling The Truth About Medical Marijuana Raids

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002
Subject: #250 Telling The Truth About Medical Marijuana Raids

Telling The Truth About Medical Marijuana Raids


DrugSense FOCUS Alert #250 Wed. September 18, 2002

The outrageous behavior of the DEA has shocked even the mainstream
press. Many newspapers have covered the latest raid of the Wo/Men’s
Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in Santa Cruz, and many
reporters seem startled by the brutality and inverted priorities
displayed by the DEA.

An excellent example was published in USA Today this week. The
article, below, starts by describing the shock of a polio sufferer who
was repeatedly ordered to stand up by DEA agents even after they saw
her leg braces and crutches. The article goes on to paint a fair
picture of the club which makes the attempts by the narcs to justify
their raids sound even more absurd.

Please write a letter to USA Today, or other newspapers that have
covered this issue to encourage editors and reporters to keep
reporting the truth about medical marijuana and the vicious actions of
the DEA.

NOTE: USA Today is the largest circulation newspaper in the U.S.Your
letter, if published could be worth _$5,000_ or more in advertising
value!! See the Target Analysis below.

Thanks for your effort and support.


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Source: USA Today (US)
Contact: editor@usatoday.com

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Pubdate: Tue, 17 Sep 2002
Source: USA Today (US)
Webpage: http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20020917/4453835s.htm
Copyright: 2002 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Contact: editor@usatoday.com
Website: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nfront.htm
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/466
Author: John Ritter

Pot raid angers state, patients

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Suzanne Pfeil understands why federal agents
burst in just after dawn with guns drawn and handcuffed her. That’s
routine in drug busts. What she can’t understand is why agents kept
ordering her to stand up after they saw her crutches and leg braces
next to the bed.

Then when her blood pressure spiked and she felt chest pains, the
agents refused to call an ambulance, says Pfeil, 42, disabled by
polio. That she can’t forgive. ”Totally unprofessional,” she says.
”They were brutalizing us.”

Outrage over a Sept. 5 raid at a medical marijuana cooperative in the
coastal hills north of here festers beyond the terminally ill patients
who use marijuana to ease pain, which California law allows.

The raid is the latest, perhaps most controversial collision of
federal law and the nation’s growing medical marijuana movement.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer condemned the bust as a waste
of law enforcement resources, a cruel step against a group that
presents slight danger to the public and a slap at the state’s voters.
The Santa Cruz County sheriff, whose deputies have worked closely with
co-op managers to ensure that the operation is law-abiding, said he
was ”disappointed” by the raid.

Today, the Santa Cruz City Council will permit the co-op to hand out
marijuana publicly to its patients at City Hall.

”It’s just absolutely loathsome to me that federal money, energy and
staff time would be used to harass people like this,” says Emily
Reilly, Santa Cruz’s vice mayor.

A Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman in San Francisco accused
the council of ”flouting federal law” prohibiting marijuana possession.

In Washington, DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson defends the

”What the DEA concentrates on is the investigation and prosecution of
major trafficking cases,” Hutchinson says. ”But the DEA’s
responsibility is to enforce our controlled substances laws, and one
of them is marijuana. Someone could stand up and say one of these
marijuana plants is designed for someone who is sick, but under
federal law, there’s no distinction.”

Other states follow

Since California voters approved medical marijuana in 1996, Alaska,
Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have
enacted similar laws. Federal authorities say no conclusive scientific
evidence proves marijuana’s medicinal benefit, but advocates say a
number of foreign studies do.

”My hope is this bust represents the federal government pushing too
far, the overreach that shocks the conscience of a lot more people,
especially those in Washington who have seemed so callous to date,”
says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
The group promotes alternatives to the drug war, such as treatment
instead of jail for drug offenders.

The DEA has raided eight medical marijuana operations in California,
including one in Sonoma County three days after the Santa Cruz bust.
But Hutchinson denies that California is being targeted. ”It’s one of
the things we’re carrying out all across the country,” he says.

Chris Battle, a DEA spokesman in Washington, says enforcement has been
active in California because the state’s law is loosely worded and
open to abuse.

”California doesn’t say how much you can grow, how much you can have
or what disease you can use it for,” says Allen St. Pierre, executive
director of the NORML Foundation, a pro-marijuana advocacy group.

Laws in Oregon, Washington and Maine specify weight amounts, numbers
of plants that can be possessed and specific diseases marijuana can
treat. Oregon requires a doctor’s recommendation and a photo ID card.
Several bills that would set similar guidelines haven’t been approved
by the California Legislature.

Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputies closely monitored the co-op that
was raided last week — WAMM, the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical
Marijuana, founded and run by Valerie and Mike Corral. ”Valerie has
been very open and very consistent in what she’s doing up there and
how the marijuana is handled,” sheriff’s spokesman Kim Allyn says.

Valerie Corral is the movement’s ”Mother Teresa,” says Nadelmann of
the Drug Policy Alliance. She served on a task force Lockyer formed to
write guidelines for the Legislature, and her group is seen as a model

( snipped – to see the rest of the article go to http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20020917/4453835s.htm



To the Editors:

In Britain, marijuana has been removed from the government’s list of
most-dangerous “Class A” drugs, and possession is no longer an
arrestable offense.

The Canadian Senate has just recommended full legalization and
government regulation of marijuana.

In Portugal, anyone possessing less than ten days’ supply of any
illegal drug is sent to treatment, not jail.

Meanwhile, in the Land of the Free, some 650,000 Americans are
arrested every year for simple possession of marijuana. In the Home of
the Brave, federal DEA agents toting chainsaws and machine guns roust
polio patients from their beds for the “crime” of growing legal
medicinal herbs for other sick and dying patients.

When will we put a stop to this home-grown brand of state-sponsored

Keith Sanders

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With a U.S. circulation of over 2.3 million, the readership
demographics are: Total Adult Readers 4.3 million. Male/Female 66/34%.
Median Age 41 years. Attended College 80%. Median HH Income $71, 661.

The average published letter would cost over $5,000 if purchased as an

The MAP published letter archive has more than 50 letters from USA
Today. A recent sample shows they tend to be short – about 40% being
under 100 words. The average published is 169 words, and the largest
about 300 words.

The published letters can be viewed here:




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