November 1, 2001
DEA Wages War on California's Medical Pot Clubs
NORML Brands Feds' Actions: "Solution in Search of a Problem"
Washington, DC: Last week's raid by federal agents on the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center (LACRC) - southern California's largest and most well-respected medical marijuana dispensary, and the second such raid of a state buyers' cooperative in less than a month - make it apparent that the federal government is deliberately targeting medicinal marijuana support groups and needlessly punishing their seriously ill clients, NORML's National Director R. Keith Stroup announced today.
"The federal crackdown on California's medical marijuana growers and distributors, including most recently the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, is a solution in search of a problem," Stroup said. "These clubs play a necessary and positive role in their community: providing medicine in a safe and regulated environment, and present no threat to public safety or health. They operate with the full knowledge and support of the public - who voted overwhelmingly to legalize the use of medical pot in 1996 - as well as with backing from local law enforcement and government. In fact, it seems that the only people opposed to these operations are federal bureaucrats in Washington, most specifically new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Director Asa Hutchinson."
In August, Hutchinson announced that the federal government would not tolerate any use of marijuana, including its use by patients in states that have legalized it.
The L.A. bust comes shortly after federal agents raided the offices of the California Medical Research Center in Cool, California, northeast of Sacramento, seizing 32 plants and approximately 5,000 medical records from club members. Thirty federal drug enforcement agents participated in Friday's raid of the LACRC, which served some 960 patients, most of who suffer from AIDS or cancer. Law enforcement seized all of the cooperative's patient records, computers and medicine, but did not make any arrests.
Also in October, DEA agents raided a medical marijuana farm outside of Los Angeles that grew cannabis for the LACRC.
US Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden told the New York Times that the federal government will "aggressive[ly]" impose federal marijuana prohibitions in California, adding that the government does not differentiate between medical marijuana and other illegal drugs. "The recent enforcement is indicative that we have not lost our priorities in other areas since September 11," she said.
Local officials, meanwhile, have denounced the government's strong-arm tactics. "Federal and law enforcement authorities have no business interfering with the doctor-patient relationship," said California Medical Association spokesman Peter Warren. "It's especially shocking in this time of national crisis that federal agents are out there tossing doctor's offices."
California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer echoed his sentiments, calling the DEA raids a "disgraceful and shocking abuse of government power in flagrant disregard of public health, welfare and the interests of the community. At this time of national crisis, it is shameful that the administration has chosen to wage war on medical marijuana."
Ironically, the feds' latest bust comes only days after Great Britain's Home Office announced plans to nationally decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana, and less than two weeks after the Dutch Cabinet approved legislation that would allow pharmacies to fill government-subsidized medical marijuana prescriptions. "While the rest of the world moves steadily into the 21st century, the Bush administration is dragging its knuckles and America back into the Dark Ages," said Scott Imler, president of the LACRC, who added that his club presently remains open, but is no longer distributing medicinal pot to its members.
For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Dale Gieringer, California NORML Coordinator, at (415) 563-5858.
Scholarly Press to Publish Peer-Reviewed Journal on Industrial Hemp
Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press will begin publication of the Journal of Industrial Hemp (JIH) in the spring of 2002. The new bi-annual publication will serve as the official journal of the Industrial Hemp Association (IHA), and will document the latest peer-reviewed research on the production and processing of industrial hemp.
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It is a tall, slender fibrous plant similar to flax or kenaf, various parts of which may be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products.
Haworth Press publishes over 180 scholarly journals, including the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, edited by Montana neurologist Ethan Russo.
For more information on the Journal of Industrial Hemp, please visit the Haworth Press website at: http://www.haworthpressinc.com. For more information on hemp, please visit NORML's newly updated industrial hemp section on the Web at: http://www.norml.org/hemp/index.shtml.
Texas NORML Launches Radio Show
Dallas, TX: This Sunday will mark the premiere of the "Club Cannabis" radio show, hosted by Texas NORML coordinator Rick Day. The one-hour broadcast will air weekly on Sunday evenings from 7 to 8 PM central time on KTRA 1190 AM in Dallas. The show will also be broadcast live on the Internet at: http://www.endthedrugwar.org.
NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup will appear on Sunday's inaugural show.
For more information, please contact Rick Day at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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