Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Struggle for Patients' Rights To Collectively Cultivate and Distribute Medication

This Sunday, in the LA Times in an article titled Decriminalize Marijuana, Marie Lee a professor at Brown University wrote “I'm on the phone getting a recipe for hashish butter not from my dealer but from Lester Grinspoon, a physician and emeritus professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and not for a party but for my 9 year old son, who has autism, anxiety and digestive problems, all of which are helped by the analgesic and psychoactive properties of marijuana.”

Evidence from patients already attests to its pain-relieving properties, and the benefits in quelling chemotherapy-induced nausea and wasting syndrome are well documented. Recent studies have found even more important medical uses.

Here in California it has been over a decade since the Compassionate Use Act. Several years since SB420, and almost a year since the California Attorney General's guidelines. As of today, we even have had Congress urge the department of justice to clarify medical marijuana policy and stop the DEA raids. However here in San Diego we still have certain groups such as the North Coastal Prevention Coalition trying to prove to the public that there is no use for cannabis in medicine and we have the San Diego DA’s Office saying there is no such thing as a legal collective or cooperative, and that anyone who engages in an attempt to cultivate and distribute collectively is obviously in it for profit, "why else would they get in to this activity".

As most of us here today already know, there are many patients and collectives in San Diego who have gone above and beyond what is required in order to comply and stay within the law. Yet every attempt made to date by collectives and coops to follow the law in San Diego has resulted in long investigations, prosecutions, and collectives having to operate so deeply underground and under such intense daily fear and pressure, that the potential public benefit they could be bringing to the community and to patients is stifled by this environment of fear.

The DA has made it clear, San Diego is not a safe place for collectives, here patients are rounded up in drug sting operations, prosecuted, and forced into taking plea bargains. The few that put up a fight are thrown in jail or worse as in Steve McWilliams' case, are forced to take their own life.

We as a community need to educate the public on the truth and benefits of medical cannabis and the laws already in place.

How many more years need to pass and how many more lives need to be destroyed until there is change in San Diego? Please join me in the struggle for patients' rights to collectively cultivate and distribute medication by supporting me in court on July 13th. To learn more about my case please visit

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