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Indybay Feature
Fri Sep 24 2004
Medical Marijuana Advocates to Demand Rescheduling of Marijuana
October 5th in DC: Rally to Demand Rescheduling of Marijuana
10/5/2004: Fourteen people were arrested in civil disobedience on the steps of the Department of Health and Human Serviecs today.
Medical Marijuana activists took their message to the nation's capital just a month before the presidential election. On Tuesday, October 5th at 10am there was a rally at the US Department of Health and Human Services, at 200 Independence Avenue, SW, in Washington, DC. Events during the week have included use of a community center for art making, meetings, and trainings; a press conference at the National Press Club; a town hall meeting of patients' unions and participants; and the rally at HHS. The week was envisioned to be a truly regional gathering- planning meetings were held in several cities, and people traveled to DC by bus and carpool from such cities as Philadelphia and Providence.

Background: Americans for Safe Access says that marijuana must be rescheduled, and its medicinal value recognized on the federal level, in order to ensure safe access for all those who need its medicinal benefits. The government would then be able to focus on the question of how to get the medicine to patients, rather than instead of still debating whether or not marijuana is medicine. Health and Human Services (HHS) has the power to make this change. If HSS allows that marijuana has medical value, the DEA must recommend rescheduling. In 2001, HHS ruled that marijuana had, "no currently accepted medical use in treatment". They did not address the data recognizing cannabis as a useful treatment, by itself or as an adjunct to other therapies. This allowed the DEA to reject rescheduling and gave them implicit permission to raid patients. Six months later, the DEA started raiding and closing California dispensaries. Recent Indybay stories about raids and arrests: Tom the Nurse | Eddy's Medicinal Gardens

Activists chose October as the time for this rally for several reasons. They want to educate the American public on Bush's record before the election. The Bush/Ashcroft attack on patients was so unpopular that they have retreated in this election year. "We will be there to remind those voters with short memories about Bush's war on patients." Activists want to show the next administration and Congress that there is a way to end the war on patients outside of the legislature. There is a petition for rescheduling cannabis in front of Health and Human Services right now. Also, the Supreme Court will hear the Raich/Monson case after October. More info on the Americans for Safe Access website.
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