FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Shawn Heller or Adam Eidinger
September 21, 2002 202-903-6329 – 202.232.8997
Thousands to Protest in Sacramento Sept 23 Over U.S. Crack Down on California Medical Marijuana Caregivers
SACRAMENTO, CA – Thousands of patients, caregivers, students and concerned citizens will march to the state capital this Monday, Sept 23 to decry the Ashcroft Justice Department’s accelerated war on state approved and licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in California which serve mostly terminally ill patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other ailments. The raids are spurring activists, local elected officials and patients nationwide to organize numerous protests, including massive protests and civil disobedience in Sacramento, CA, and Washington, DC, on September 23rd.
“At least 1000 students and patients from across California will march in Sacramento around the capital to demand that elected officials do more to protect Californians from the federal assault on the sick and dying,” says Shawn Heller, National Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. The group, which works on drug policy issues such as the denial of student financial aid to drug offenders and the privacy of students versus drug testing, has shifted gears as the DEA increased its raids on cannabis distribution centers this month. The group has organized 25 busses of students and patients to go the march.
“Students are going to lead the way in protecting the terminally ill from federal harassment,” says Heller. “Students will not stand by and see the seriously ill suffer. We will do our best to represent the patient community especially because elected representatives are failing to do so.”
There will be protests on both coasts September 22nd and September 23rd.
In Sacramento, CA:
On September 22 6:30: Candlelight vigil at federal courthouse (501 I Street)..
On Sept. 23rd Noon: Demonstration at the south side of Capitol, procession to federal building for direct action.
In Washington, DC:
On Sept. 22nd 8 to 9 p.m.: Candlelight vigil in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Ave.
On Sept. 23rd Noon: Demonstration in front of the White House.
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2002 Governor Gray Davis announced that he supported the rights of California patients to have access to medical marijuana and will work with the federal government to allow safe access to the medicine. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has written Attorney General Ashcroft requesting a meeting with him to discuss the medical marijuana issue. In the letter he questioned "the ethical basis for the DEA's policy when these raids."
"The student demonstration was organized within ten days. Next time we will have more time and hopefully
bring out a couple of thousand more,” adds Heller.