Medical marijuana advocates want Costa Mesa voters to lift ban
Delicious looking Edibles
Advocates Mourn Dispensary Closures in Mock Funeral in San Francisco
Medical marijuana advocates gathered in San Francisco Wednesday to protest the closure of two more city-allowed medical marijuana dispensaries that were forced to shut down their locations by federal threats from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.
The Vapor Room and HopeNet were made to close their doors at the end of July after U.S. Attorney Haag sent letters to their landlords, threatening prosecution and asset forfeiture if the dispensaries were not told to leave.
In the Haight district of San Francisco, residents dressed in black and white gathered around a jazz band and a 12-foot paper-mâché puppet of U.S. Attorney Haag.
"Advocates argue that closures are needlessly driving patients into the illicit market," said Linda Stokely, a Save Safe Access coalition media specialist.
Either that, or some patients will simply have to go without their medicine. Think about that for a moment. By all accounts, the United States is not a third world country, yet more and more sick people are unable to get simple medical care. It doesn’t get much simpler than being able to go somewhere, pay money for your legally recommended medication, then go home.
California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a longtime champion of medical marijuana rights, was also at the mock funeral Wednesday. "We really do need to hold the Obama administration responsible," he said. "We need to be a voice in reshaping what's come down in the past few months." Ammiano was joined by City Supervisors David Campos and Christina Olague.
"San Francisco has been a sanctuary for medical cannabis since 2000,” Save Safe Access said. “Unfortunately, safe access to medical cannabis is now in jeopardy, unless we take action to save safe access in San Francisco."
Advocates and patients continue to make their voices heard, but is anyone in the Obama Administration listening?
DEAs Cannabis Crop Seizures Down 35 Percent from Year Before
According to statistics provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), drug seizures dropped by 35% between 2010 and 2011.
Data for the year 2011 shows that about 6.7 million cannabis plants were eradicated nationwide under the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, which is active in all 50 states. This represents the lowest total of plants eradicated since 2006, and is a 35% decrease from 2010, when the DEA reported eradicating roughly 10.3 million marijuana plants.
Most of the drop comes from California, where 7.4 million plants were destroyed in 2010 and only 4 million were destroyed in 2011. About 60% of all plants eradicated come from CA.
According to a July 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the Justice Department’s asset forfeiture fund under President Barack Obama is the largest on record, going from $500 million in 2003 to $1.8 billion in 2011. The fund paid out about $79 million to California law enforcement agencies alone for their participation in federal raids and seizures.
And this is what it all comes down to: money. The DEA needs these seizures to justify their budget, and they need money with which to bribe locals to cooperate.
So what accounts for the drop? Is less marijuana being grown? Prices are not rising noticeably, so probably not. The only other answer is that the DEA is getting worse at its job – or corrupt agents are keeping more for themselves and not reporting it.
Either way, less cannabis plants being destroyed is a good thing. It means there is more medicine out there for those who need it, whatever reason they use it for. It means more people are learning the art of growing as well as the art of concealment.
It means cannabis cannot be completely eradicated, no matter how much money is spent.
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