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Thread: Mayor's Letter Calls For Hearings of DEA

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    420 Member PFlynn's Avatar
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    Mayor's Letter Calls For Hearings of DEA

    California - In a move reflecting the city's supportive stance as a sanctuary for medical marijuana, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates wrote a letter last Thursday urging the federal government to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration from intervening with the work of dispensaries. Bates wrote the letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers calling for congressional hearings about letters the agency sent in 2007 that threatened landlords renting to medical marijuana dispensaries. The landlords of dispensaries, three of which are in Berkeley, were threatened with property forfeiture or criminal prosecution. "This is really a back-door way to try to eliminate access to medical marijuana," said Julie Sinai, chief of staff to Bates. "We want Congressman Conyers to call for hearings to get the (agency) to focus on issues of hard drug use and serious drug offenses instead of targeting medical marijuana dispensaries."

    Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access, said the agency has raided upwards of 100 dispensaries across California since June 2005-with more than 50 occurring in 2007 alone-forcing many to close. The agency's threatening letters led the City Council to pass a resolution on Jan. 29 declaring Berkeley a sanctuary for medical marijuana patients and dispensaries. "Medical marijuana is a proven medication that helps alleviate a number of chronic diseases," Sinai said. "The city of Berkeley feels that residents should be able to get the medications that they need with the supervision of (doctors)."

    While cannabis is illegal at the federal level, some states have passed laws allowing for its usage. California votes legalized medical marijuana in 1996 with the Compassionate Use Act. "Twelve years after (the act) passed, we are still living in fear (of raids)," said Becky DeKeuster, community liaison for the dispensary, Berkeley Patients Group. "(The) situation is unjust and we welcome congressional oversight into what's happening here, so we are very grateful to the mayor for taking a stand." Officials at Berkeley dispensaries said they were targeted although they were operating legally under state law. "They focused in areas like Berkeley ... where dispensaries have shown that they can be positive members of the community," DeKeuster said.

    Bates' letter is the fifth in a string of requests already sent to Conyers by the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and West Hollywood. "It's good to see that local and regional leadership is all on the same page on this issue," said Michael Hunt, spokesperson for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. "It's the responsibility of the state and local governments to uphold the will of voters and adopt sensible guidelines to regulate the provision of medical cannabis in our communities."

    Hermes said he believes the hearings will discourage congressmen from using the agency to regulate dispensaries. "They'll soon conclude that it is not wise (to) use taxpayers' money (to interfere with) medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it's legal," he said.

    Robert MacCoun, UC Berkeley professor of law and public policy, said Bates' letter may help make the federal government accept medical marijuana use in the state. "(The letter) could make a difference because there's a very good chance we're going to enter a new era with a new administration which may make federal interference with medical marijuana less of a priority," he said. "The federal government thinks medical marijuana is a slippery slope towards marijuana legalization, and it probably isn't."




    Source: Daily Californian, The (CA Edu)
    Copyright: 2008 The Daily Californian
    Contact: dailycal@dailhttp://www.dailycal.org/ycal.org
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    Last edited by Herb Fellow; 05-01-2008 at 08:02 AM.
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    Cannabis Connoisseur Boss's Avatar
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    Re: Mayor's Letter Calls For Hearings of DEA

    We hope to ride that slippery slope to legalization as soon as humanly possible :-)

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    420 Member Cherma's Avatar
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    Re: Mayor's Letter Calls For Hearings of DEA

    Justice Scalia, recently emphasized again last week in a recent speech that laws past within the state by the state should be held free of interference from any Federal prosecution.
    Not believing in too many of his views or dissentions one could tend to agree with this view, as soon as Congress can get all cannibas laws re-classified, maybe the feds can get back to doing other more important things. The enormous amount of time, effort, monetary value, that has been wasted in a most hideous attempt to curb the rising tide of all cannabis products, MUST STOP!!! over 71 years has been waged in this program from the Federal & State governing bodies to eradicate, stamp out cannabis. Billions spent, millions of lives set back by long prison terms, felonious fines for citizens.
    And what has it not produced?
    The laws in certain states that have changed for many Medical Marijuana patients, has been a blessing yet a curse. Are we going to see laws changed back to Tax & regulate marijuana? Can the cotton industry over ride all " Commercial Hemp Farming? for the sake of the few large companies controlling that market? along with the chemical fertilizer companies that have much to lose.
    So many questions, too little hemp!!
    PLANT ON my brothers & sisters