|House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “I have strong concerns about the recent actions by the federal government that threaten the safe access of medicinal marijuana”|
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday released a statement pushing back against the Obama Administration’s escalated interference with medical marijuana laws in California and other states, which is threatening safe access to medicinal cannabis for patients.
“Crucially, she pointed to the stark contrast between the administration’s current actions and its previous written policy that ‘did not pursue individuals whose actions complied with state laws,’ remarked media relations director Tom Angell of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
“Access to medicinal marijuana for individuals who are ill or enduing difficult and painful therapies is both a medical and a states’ rights issue,” Pelosi said. “Sixteen states, including our home state of California, and the District of Columbia have adopted medicinal marijuana laws — most by a vote of the people.
As a result of threats by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag to bring criminal and civil charges against San Francisco dispensary operators and their landlords, five city facilities have been forced to close, and at least four additional dispensaries have received similar threatening letters.
|Nancy Pelosi: “I have long supported efforts in Congress to advocate federal policies that recognize the scientific evidence and clinical research demonstrating the medical benefits of medicinal marijuana”|
Pelosi’s statement came on the same day the Alameda County Democratic Party unanimously adopted a resolution “decrying the federal raids on dispensaries and calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to refrain from future expenditure of public resources on any act that contradicts the will of the California voters regarding medical marijuana.”
Last week the San Francisco Democratic Party passed a similar resolution, calling on President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag to “cease all Federal actions in San Francisco immediately, respect State and local laws, and stop the closure of City-permitted medical cannabis facilities.”
This resolution followed a similar statement earlier in April by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, opposing “recent federal actions targeting duly permitted Medicinal Cannabis Dispensaries … that aim to limit our citizens’ ability to have safe access to the medicine they need.”
“I have strong concerns about the recent actions by the federal government that threaten the safe access of medicinal marijuana to alleviate the suffering of patients in California, and undermine a policy that has been in place under which the federal government did not pursue individuals whose actions complied with state laws providing for medicinal marijuana,” Pelosi said.
One group behind the recently building momentum of opposition by local, state and federal officials is the coalition San Francisco United for Safe Access, made up of patients, patient advocates like Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and its local ASA-SF chapter, and other stakeholders seeking to maintain a safe and legal means by which qualified patients can get their medication.
|Americans for Safe Access|
“We applaud Pelosi’s leadership in urging President Obama to address medical marijuana as a public health issue,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “Rather than defending a policy of intolerance, President Obama should end his unnecessary and harmful attacks once and for all.”
“Proven medicinal uses of marijuana include improving the quality of life for patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other severe medical conditions,” Pelosi said. “I am pleased to join organizations that support legal access to medicinal marijuana, including the American Nurses Association, the Lymphoma Foundation of America, and the AIDS Action Council.
“Medicinal marijuana alleviators some of the most debilitating symptoms of AIDS, including pain, wasting, and nausea,” Pelosi said. “The opportunity to ease the suffering of people who are seriously ill or enduring difficult or painful therapies is an opportunity we must not ignore.
“For these reasons, I have long supported efforts in Congress to advocate federal policies that recognize the scientific evidence and clinical research demonstrating the medical benefits of medicinal marijuana, that respects the wishes of the states in providing relief to ill individuals, and that prevents the federal government from acting to harm the safe access of medicinal marijuana provided under state law,” Pelosi said. “I will continue to strongly support those efforts.”
President Obama, who was recently interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, weakly defended his administration’s practice of aggressively raiding permitted dispensaries by claiming “there haven’t been any prosecutions” of medical marijuana patients.
The President conspicuously avoided the question of why he is using Justice Department funds to carry out a campaign against medical marijuana that not only contradicts a campaign pledge, but has also far surpassed that of his predecessor President George W. Bush.
Obama’s Justice Department has conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids on dispensaries and growers in at least nine medical marijuana states since he took office in January 2009.