California: Attorney General, Lawmakers Criticize Federal Government’s Crackdown On State’s Medical Marijuana Providers

“I urge the federal government to stand down in its massive attack on medical marijuana dispensaries,” state senator says

Sacramento, CA: State Attorney General Kamala Harris has called on US Department of Justice officials to limit their ongoing actions against medical cannabis providers in California. In a statement issued by the Attorney General last Thursday, Harris criticized that “an overly broad federal enforcement campaign will make it more difficult for legitimate patients to access physician-recommended medicine in California.”

Earlier this month, United States Deputy Attorney General James Cole, along with the four US Attorneys from California, publicly announced plans to escalate federal prosecutorial efforts targeting the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries and providers. Since their announcement, US Attorneys have sent eviction notices to the landlords, and even the financial institutions, of several cannabis providers throughout the state. Federal law enforcement officials also recently raided Northstone Organics, a northern California cooperative that was licensed by the Mendocino County sheriff’s office to cultivate and provide cannabis.

Last week, state Senator Mark Leno and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano called on federal prosecutors to “cease (their) senseless assault” on medical marijuana operators and those they do business with. “I urge the federal government to stand down in its massive attack on medical marijuana dispensaries,” Leno said at a news conference. “California voters intended that patients should have safe and affordable access to medical marijuana.”

Both lawmakers have requested meetings, but have yet to meet with Justice Department officials.

Seven members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have also signed on to a nonbinding resolution urging the federal government to cease interfering with the enforcement of the state’s medical cannabis laws.

On Tuesday of this week, dozens of marijuana law reform activists gathered in San Francisco outside of a $7,500-per-plate Presidential fundraiser to protest the Administration’s apparent flip-flop on medical marijuana policy. Speaking at the rally, Assemblyman Ammiano called the Administration’s crackdown efforts “un-Democratic and the worst case of thuggery.”

Medical cannabis advocates on Tuesday also announced plans to draft a statewide ballot initiative for 2012 that would seek to impose increased state-oversight over the production and distribution of medical marijuana. The proposed plan would likely be modeled after legislation enacted in Colorado, where the state has licensed over 1,000 facilities to dispense cannabis to authorized users.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or visit California NORML at: http://www.canorml.org. Additional information is available via NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page at: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=54512501.