Berkeley marijuana activists protest Attorney General Eric Holder at law graduation


While the cannabis communities of Colorado and Washington await a response to recently-passed marijuana laws from Attorney General Eric Holder, it seems he’s busy writing other speeches: graduation remarks for the University of California at Berkeley law school commencement, which as held over the weekend.
Ganja activists took the opportunity to swarm the campus and even went so far as to fly a custom banner over the outdoor Greek Theater that read: “Holder: End Rx Cannabis War #peace4patients,” according to the Huffington Post.

The group was with Americans for Safe Access and were protesting the recent federal action against the Berkeley Patients Group and raising awareness for their new group, Peace for Patients aimed at stopping the war on medical cannabis users.
“Patients will not stand idly by while Attorney General Holder’s Justice Department continues to attack our community and endanger the lives of Berkeley residents” said one of the protesters outside the ceremony, according to an ASA press release. “We’re here today to call attention to the misguided policies of the Obama Administration and to ensure that his ongoing campaign against medical marijuana is stopped in its tracks.”
As we reported last week, BPG is the largest dispensary in Berkeley and as such was the target for a large federal lawsuit filed May 2 that would force the dispensary to shut down and hand over their assets to the feds. Federal agents have also targeted BPG’s landlord, threatening to seize the property.
This is the second time the BPG has been targeted. In 2011 they moved locations after receiving a notice from the U.S. Attorney forcing them to move further than 1,000 feet from any schools.
This time, the owners of BPG have decided to fight back. “Berkeley Patients Group intends to vigorously defend the rights of its patients to be able to obtain medical cannabis from a responsible, city-licensed dispensary,” said Sean Luse, Chief Operations Officer for BPG.
Even Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates thinks the feds have overstepped their bounds.
“I think it’s time for the federal government, the president and the attorney general to wake up and stop these kinds of actions. Here is a group of people who have played by the rules and have had no problems in the city with the way they or their patients conduct themselves.”
Holder didn’t respond to the protestors outside (big surprise there). Interestingly, he did make the final closing point in his speech, according to the university newspaper, The Daily Cal: “Use your unique skills, your idealism and the power that your new law degree affords to better yourselves, to improve your communities and to solve the complex problems that undoubtedly lie ahead,” he said.
We know of an area in our communities that might be a good start for at least a few Berkeley Law grads…