San Diegans Protests Federal and Local Assault on Medical Marijuana Patients Rights

By: Eugene Davidovich

SAN DIEGO – On Thursday February 16th at noon, activists, patient advocates, and concerned citizens from all walks of life converged on federal courthouses in states and cities across the nation in a coordinated effort to voice their opposition to the continued federal and local assault against medical marijuana patients’ rights.

The protest, part of Medical Cannabis Week; a week of action called by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s largest medical marijuana patients’ rights advocacy group, to draw attention to “Obama’s failure at keeping his promise not to ‘circumvent’ state medical marijuana laws and to highlight the unprecedented attack on patients and their providers across the country”. (ASA Press Release 2/15/2011)

The week of action began on Monday the 13th, when hundreds of citizens called the White House telling Obama to keep his promise to ‘not use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws’, demand he stop putting politics before science, and urging swift action to reclassify cannabis immediately.

On Tuesday, the public was urged to call their members of Congress demanding sponsorship of legislation to reclassify cannabis, end federal interference in state programs, and provide licensed patients and providers a defense in court.

Wednesday, saw a call for State Governors to sign on to the DEA Rescheduling Petition, with Thursday being a day of direct action with rallies at federal courthouses held in nine cities across six states.

The San Diego Rally for Safe Access organized by the San Diego chapter of ASA, was held at the San Diego Federal Courthouse on the corner of Front St. and Broadway. At noon, several dozen protesters converged on to the steps of the courthouse, told their stories, and chanted; “What do we want? Safe Access! When do we want it? Now!” along with “DEA Go Away, DEA Go Away”.

The stories included patients discussing their medical conditions and how cannabis helped improve their quality of life, as well as how the recent federal assault against them has impacted their ability to obtain the medicine that helps them.

Marcus Boyd, Vice Chair of San Diego ASA while on the bullhorn said, “In Obama’s first term, we’ve seen over 200 SWAT-style raids on medical marijuana patients, dispensaries and growers. This is more raids in four years, then we saw during President George W. Bush’s eight. This assault on patient’s rights must end the Obama administration must uphold its campaign promises.”

From the Federal Courthouse, where Department of Justice attack dog U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy reigns, the protesters marched to the Hall of Justice, where San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis wages her war against cannabis patients in State court. At the steps of what looks like a great white fortress and serves as Dumanis’ office, the group loudly voiced opposition to her prosecutions of legitimate medical marijuana patients as well as her recent bid for mayor. Protesters vowed to hold Dumanis accountable for her actions both at the ballot box as well as through opposition campaigns.

On the way back to the Federal courthouse the group stopped by the State courthouse and engaged in a little jury education, informing jurors waiting in line to get into the courthouse, that they cannot be punished for their verdicts and should examine not only the facts of the cases they are assigned to, but the law itself.

Videos of the San Diego rally can be viewed here:
Rally for Safe Access – DA’s Office – http://youtu.be/LVW11Cis7uc
Rally for Safe Access – Federal Courthouse – http://youtu.be/49ZwmugAEvQ
Rally for Safe Access – San Diego County Courthouse – http://youtu.be/i1yg8zOjlQY
Rally for Safe Access – Federal Building – http://youtu.be/8FhHL5Nai6w

Americans for Safe Access Press Release – http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=7067

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