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Americans for Safe Access Activist Newsletter

Defending Patients’ Access to Medical Marijuana
August 2007 Volume 2, Issue 8

Dispensary Progress in LA Despite DEA Raids and Threats
City Council Starts Regulatory Process; Calls on DEA to Cease and Desist
For two years, ASA organizers have been and that the landlords could lose their worked closely—voted unanimously to
working with city officials in Los Angeles buildings to federal asset forfeiture. establish the groundwork for a regula-
to ensure safe access to medical marijua- tory process for medical cannabis dis-
na, educating them on the needs of These attacks on patient access were pensaries that ASA has been advocat-
patients and the benefits of a sound reg- similar to the dozen simultaneous raids ing for two years.
ulatory approach. The efforts of ASA conducted in January. Like then, ASA (continued page 2)
and other patient advocates has result- activists sprang into immediate action,
ed in significant progress in LA, so much
so that the DEA has made it a target.
organizing protestors at dispensaries
while raids were still going on and
Patient Protections
On the same day that the Los Angeles
alerting the local media, which turned
out in force.
Edge Forward in DC
City Council was preparing to take an MORE VOTE TO STOP DEA RAIDS;
important step toward regulating the Within two hours of the raids starting, HEAT FOR REPS WHO OPPOSE
operation of medical cannabis dispens- over 200 patients and advocates had
ing cooperatives, federal agents staged gathered at one Hollywood dispensary, July marked the fifth attempt in as
another set of coordinated paramilitary blockading the entrances and prevent- many years to end on the federal level
raids designed to intimidate local offi- ing DEA agents from leaving until they DEA interference in state medical mar-
cials and patients. The raids on ten dis- released the employees being detained. ijuana programs. In fact, on the very
pensaries came within weeks of the day that the DEA was making its simul-
DEA sending over a hundred threaten- That same day, the Los Angeles City taneous raids in Los Angeles, Congress
ing letters to landlords of LA dispen- Council—under the leadership of was debating the Hinchey-Rohrabacher
saries, telling them the dispensaries are Councilmember Dennis Zine, a former amendment to the Commerce/Justice
operating illegally under federal law LA police officer with whom ASA has and Science appropriation bill.

The bi-partisan Hinchey-Rohrabacher
ASA Persists in Medical Marijuana Truth Suit amendment—named for Representa-
tives Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana
Judge Delivers Setback But DQA Fight Continues Rohrabacher (R-CA)—would prohibit
ASA's landmark litigation to force the response from the government on the DEA spending funds on the arrest
federal government to admit the truth ASA’s petition, which says that there is or prosecution of patients or caregivers
about medical marijuana hit a bump in no sound scientific basis for the govern- who are legal under state law. The final
July, but ASA’s legal team fights on. ment's continued insistence that "mar- vote for the amendment was 165 in
ijuana has no currently accepted medical favor, 262 opposed and 10 abstaining,
Federal District Court Judge William use in treatment in the United States." an improvement over previous years
Alsup used a technicality to dismiss that reflects ASA's hard work in the
ASA's Data Quality Act (DQA) lawsuit. A substantive response from the gov- National Office and grassroots efforts.
But, at the same time, he gave ASA the ernment would be either an acknowl-
chance to amend the lawsuit and refile edgement of the thousands of scientif- With the change in Congressional lead-
it, which we are doing. ic and medical articles and research ership, particular the ascendancy of
findings showing medical uses for mar- Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to Speaker, ASA
In its decision, the court indicated that ijuana, or a continued denial. If the and other advocates had hoped for
ASA could argue that the nearly three government refuses to concede the more. And, in fact, ASA helped recruit
years of stalling from the Department facts, ASA can then turn to the courts three new votes and over two dozen
of Health and Human Services and the for intervention. new medical cannabis supporters, but
Food and Drug Administration consti- the opposition convinced nine repre-
tutes unreasonable delay. That opens ASA will file an amended complaint in sentatives (eight Democrats and one
the door for ASA to force a substantive the DQA case on or before August 17. (continued page 2)

Americans for Safe Access • 1322 Webster Street, Suite 402 • Oakland, CA 94612
510-251-1856 • •
Win in Medical Marijuana Caregiver Case AMERICANS FOR
Judge Tosses Colorado’s Arbitrary 5-Patient Limit SAFE ACCESS
Safe access in Colorado took a big step plaintiff, Damien LaGoy, to appoint the
forward this month, when a district medical marijuana provider of his
judge overturned a state policy that choice. LaGoy, who uses medical mari- 1322 Webster Street, #402
arbitrarily limited the number of juana to cope with nausea related to Oakland, California 94612
patients for which a caregiver can pro- AIDS wasting syndrome and hepatitis C,
vide marijuana. had his caregiver request denied by the Phone: 510-251-1856
State Health Department in May 2007. Fax: 510-251-2036
The decision in the case of a seriously ill
man living with HIV/AIDS came thanks "This is a historic victory for patients,"
to litigation led by Brian Vicente, lead said Vicente. "The decision to overturn (LA PROGRESS, continued from p1)
counsel and head of the Colorado this illegal policy is a giant step towards
Campaign for Safe Access, a joint project safe access to medical marijuana in The council all signed a letter to the
of Sensible Colorado and ASA. Colorado." DEA and then unanimously approved a
motion endorsing the Hinchey-
"Arbitrary and capricious" is how Senior Colorado's Amendment 20, an initiative Rohrabacher amendment, which
Denver District Judge Larry Naves adopted by voters in 2000, allows care- would prevent future DEA attacks on
described the Colorado Health givers to grow and provide medical mar- state medical marijuana programs.
Department's limit of five patients per ijuana for patients in need and provides
caregiver, as he issued an injunction sus- no limit on the number of patients a Councilmember Zine also joined ASA
pending the policy statewide. caregiver can help. before the hearing in a press confer-
ence calling on the DEA to abandon its
The decision gives patients far more Media interest in the case and ruling attacks on medical cannabis dispen-
choice in accessing medical marijuana. was extensive, including TV and newspa- saries and allow LA to move forward
Specifically, the decision allows the per coverage. without further federal interference.

ASA's communication efforts helped
ensure that LA media covered the raids
NATIONAL ACTION ALERT and City Council actions from the
patients' perspective—not the DEA's.
Did Your Representative Stand Up to And the story was picked up by the
major networks and carried by hun-
the DEA and Vote to Protect Patients? dreds of television and radio stations as
well as newspapers across the country.
In late July, the medical cannabis movement achieved a record number of con-
gressional votes for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment to the Commerce-
Justice-Science Appropriations bill, which would have eliminated funding for (HINCHEY, continued from p1)
federal raids of patients and providers in medical cannabis states. Unfortunately, Republican) to flip their votes from last
the amendment did not have enough votes to pass. year. But not without consequence.
This year, our opposition convinced 9 representatives (8 Democrats and 1 As Alan Bock, an editorial writer for
Republican) to flip-flop their votes against us. Their actions are an attack on the conservative Orange County
patients and they must be held accountable! Register notes, "I'm pleased to see that
Visit to find out if your repre- some of those who voted against the
sentative voted against the amendment and to hold him/her accountable for Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment
his/her actions. If your Congressperson voted in favor of the amendment and (which would deny funds for any DEA
protecting patients please be sure to thank him/her for his/her leadership. crackdowns on patients, growers and
distributors in states with medical mar-
ijuana laws) are getting some negative
Check Out ASA’s Online Store for Cool ASA Gear attention. Jerry McNerney
Pleasanton, CA, a freshman, was the

"Gear up" for medical cannabis activism only S.F. Bay-area Democrat to vote
with brand new line of products and liter- against the measure, and according to
ature from Americans for Safe Access. this story [in the San Francisco
Check out ASA's new T-shirts, hats, stickers, Chronicle] he's being criticized widely
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for how to make sure your representa-
tives hear your voice on this issue.