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California | Drug War

Los Angeles City Council Votes to End Federal DEA Medical Marijuana Raids
by Americans for Safe Access
Wednesday Jul 25th, 2007 4:35 PM
*MEDIA RELEASE
Americans for Safe Access
For Immediate Release: *July 25, 2007
*Los Angeles City Council Votes to End Federal DEA Medical Marijuana Raids
*/Meanwhile, DEA intensifies effort with raids today on at least 6
dispensaries in the city

/*Los Angeles, CA *-- As the Los Angeles City Council voted today to
move forward with the regulation of medical cannabis (marijuana)
dispensaries, federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents were
conducting raids on at least 6 dispensaries in the greater Los Angeles
area. The Council approved the first reading today of a moratorium on
new dispensaries in the city, with final approval expected within a
week. The moratorium will give the city time to draft regulations that
would establish a permit process and guidelines for providers of medical
marijuana. The Council also passed a resolution in support of a vote in
Congress scheduled to occur today that would deny funding to the U.S.
Department of Justice, and the DEA, for enforcement against medical
marijuana patients and providers.

Los Angeles City Councilmember, and former police officer, Dennis Zine,
held a press conference this morning, prior to the vote, where he
revealed a letter sent by three Councilmembers to DEA Administrator
Karen Tandy. The letter from Los Angeles Councilmembers Dennis Zine,
Janice Hahn and Bill Rosendahl was sent in response to increased federal
activity, including numerous raids on medical cannabis dispensaries as
well as letters sent by the DEA to at least 140 landlords of dispensing
facilities. The letter requests that the DEA "abandon this tactic and
allow this City Council to continue the important work of regulating
these facilities without Federal interference." Despite the apparent
conflict between state and federal law, Zine affirms the need to "uphold
the will of our voters and adopt sensible guidelines to regulate the
provision of medical cannabis in our communities."

A vote will also take place in Congress today that would prevent federal
funds to be used to interfere in the twelve states that have adopted
medical marijuana laws. The Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment to the House
Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill, named after its authors
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), would end the
federal crackdown currently occurring in Los Angeles and other parts of
California. The resolution adopted today by the Los Angeles City Council
supports the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment and the prohibition of
further raids on "[medical] marijuana dispensaries in states that have
laws supporting their operation."

"These continued actions by the DEA, in spite of the strong endorsement
of medical marijuana by the Los Angeles City Council, is reprehensible,"
said Chris Fusco, the Southern California Field Coordinator for
Americans for Safe Access, the nation's largest medical marijuana
advocacy organization. "It shows that the federal government will stop
at nothing to undermine California's medical marijuana law, and that
today's DEA actions are in retaliation for the successful work being
done by advocates and city officials." Two hundred protesters gathered
today at California Patients Group, one of the dispensaries raided by
the DEA, and confronted federal agents. Instead of arresting a group of
people being held inside the facility, federal agents were forced to
release them or face continued civil disobedience, in the form of
blockades, by protesters at the scene.

In another apparent rebuke locally to federal efforts against medical
marijuana access, Los Angeles' neighbor to the east, the City of
Claremont, voted Tuesday night to allow and regulate a dispensary within
its city limits.

In order to bring attention to the increased federal activity by the
DEA, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is calling for statewide protests
Friday. In Los Angeles, protests will occur at 9am at the federal
building (255 East Temple) to be followed by a march to City Hall (200 N
Spring St.) to request that the city do everything it can to ensure
protection for its patients and providers from further federal interference.

For further information, refer to:
Letter from LA Councilmembers to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy:
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/Zine_DEA_Letter.pdf
Resolution adopted by the Los Angeles City Council in support of
Hinchey-Rohrabacher:
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/LA_Resolution.pdf
The DEA letter to more than 140 landlords in the Los Angeles area:
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/DEA_Landlord_Letter.pdf
ASA's one-pager on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment:
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/Hinchey_One_Pager.pdf

# # #

With over 30,000 active members in more than 40 states, Americans for
Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of
patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens
promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and
research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating
policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and
researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots
actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers.

--
Kris Hermes
Media Specialist
Americans for Safe Access
http://www.SafeAccessNow.org
1322 Webster Street, Suite 402
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-251-1856 x307
Fax: 510-251-2036
Email: kris [at] SafeAccessNow.org

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest
national member-based organization of patients,
medical professionals, scientists and concerned
citizens promoting safe and legal access to
cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
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L.A. City & County Officials FAIL to PROTECTKIEF LEAF NEWS - Sister Somayah KambuiSunday Sep 30th, 2007 11:13 PM