Washington Medical Marijuana Patients Protest Federal Raids


Photo: Zazzle

​A coalition of medical marijuana patients from around Washington state will gather in Seattle and Spokane on Monday to demonstrate against the Obama Administration’s use of federal agents to raid medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. According to the activists, the raids are in violation of the Administration’s own written policy stating they they would not use federal resources to conduct raids in states with medical marijuana laws.

Protesters will gather in Seattle and Spokane at 1 p.m. on Monday. The protest in Seattle will be in front of the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building, 915 Second Avenue, downtown. Protesters will also gather in Spokane at the Thomas Foley Federal Courthouse, 920 Riverside, Spokane, also at 1 p.m.

Federal raids against medical marijuana dispensaries began last week following Governor Christine Gregoire’s decision to gut a new medical marijuana bill that would have provided licensing and recognition of medical cannabis dispensaries in Washington. Many patients believe it was the governor who initiated this federal intervention.
“The timing of these raids was not simply a coincidence,” said Steve Sarich, executive director of CannaCare. “They had to be planned well ahead of time. To think that the feds would have staged a raid in a medical marijuana state without informing the governor, in advance, is simply not credible.
“It is the governor’s responsibility to protect the citizens of this state and she has obviously put politics ahead of that duty,” Sarich said.

Photo: Rachel Kurtz
Rachel Kurtz, Cannabis Defense Coalition: “Patients deserve better than to be terrorized by the DEA and Obama’s Department of Justice”

​”Patients deserve better than to be terrorized by the DEA and Obama’s Department of Justice,” said Rachel Kurtz, executive director of the Seattle-based Cannabis Defense Coalition.
The governor has said she supports rescheduling of medical marijuana, taking it off Schedule I and making it possible for doctors to actually prescribe it legally for patients.
“If the governor is really serious about rescheduling, we’re going to give her the chance to prove it,” said John Worthington, director of the American Alliance of Medical Cannabis. “Tomorrow we will be filing a petition with the Washington State Board of Pharmacy demanding a hearing on state rescheduling. That Board, which is controlled by the governor, has turned down three previous requests for hearings on rescheduling.
“It’s now up to the governor to put up or shut up,” Worthington said. “We’ll see if she’s serious about rescheduling or if this is just more political posturing on her part.”
“The governor lied when she said she had to gut the medical cannabis bill to prevent state employees from being prosecuted by the feds,” Sarich said. “Fifteen states now have medical marijuana laws and not one state employee has ever been arrested by the feds for doing their jobs.
“Her argument just doesn’t pass the smell test,” Sarich said.
“Patients are scared, but more than that they are angry with the governor for not protecting their rights under state law,” Kurtz said. “The sick and disabled patients of Washington state have the right to live without fear of their own government.”