The Marijuana Policy Project and a coalition of advocacy and labor groups staged a demonstration today to protest the federal government's escalated attack on California's medical marijuana laws. A rally of medical marijuana patients and supporters took place in front of the Sacramento Federal Building and features state legislators, advocates, labor unions, and dispensary operators impacted by the recent Department of Justice (DOJ) crackdown in California.
Since the beginning of October, U.S. attorneys in California have released statements giving some medical marijuana businesses 45 days to close or risk prosecution. They have also issued threats to landlords, indicating that they will be prosecuted and their property seized if they rent to medical marijuana businesses. In addition, media outlets have been warned that advertising for medical marijuana businesses, a major source of media revenue in California, could lead to federal charges as well.
“The recent announcements by the U.S. attorneys of the intent to target the California medical marijuana industry are a waste of law enforcement resources and a betrayal of campaign promises made by President Obama,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Shutting down businesses that provide medical marijuana to patients, and threatening their landlords and media advertisers, will not have any effect on the illicit marijuana market. This crackdown will hurt the California economy, deprive state and local governments of vital revenue, and, most importantly, put patients in danger. Any attack on the ability to safely access medical marijuana is an attack on patients.”
“The Department of Justice and President Obama could easily stop this interference at any time and allow California to deal with medical marijuana in the way that is best for its residents,” said Kampia. “Since the federal government cannot be trusted to respect states’ rights when it comes to medical marijuana, concerned citizens should urge their congressional representatives to support H.R. 1983 – The States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act – which would remove the threat of federal intrusion in states that permit the medical use of marijuana.”
Sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and co-sponsored by several prominent lawmakers, this bill would remove the ability of the federal government to enforce provisions of federal law that are contrary to states’ medical marijuana laws. The bill would also pave the way for changing the classification of marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act to Schedule III or lower. For more information on this bill, please visit our Federal Policy page.