Pubdate: Sat, 08 Jun 2002
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2002 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Bruce Mirken
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Yesterday's article "Hill protests target marijuana, oil policies" may have 
left readers unclear as to why 10 of my associates chose to be arrested 
protesting at the Justice Department. As the arrestee pictured alongside 
your article, allow me to explain.

Since last October, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration repeatedly 
has raided medical marijuana distribution centers operating legally under 
California law. Those centers worked in close cooperation with local public 
health and law enforcement officials, but the raids have continued despite 
vehement objections from those officials - odd for an administration that 
claims it wants a smaller federal government and respects states' rights.

The real victims of these raids are patients with cancer, AIDS and other 
terminal illnesses. In a June 3 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, 
Dr. Mitchell Katz, San Francisco's director of public health, wrote, "These 
[DEA] actions have resulted in 4,000 persons with chronic illness left 
without access to critical treatment upon which they rely."

At the protest, I carried a photo of my friend Mary Lucey, a woman with 
AIDS. To stay alive, Mary must take dozens of pills a day - a harsh, toxic 
regimen that she is able to tolerate only with the use of medical 
marijuana. Without it, she literally would be dead, but the DEA has cut off 
her safe, quality-controlled supply.

As long as our government chooses to torture the sick, those of us who are 
healthy have an obligation to stand up for them.


Director of communications

Marijuana Policy Project

- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth