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House Minority Leader Pelosi Joins Democrats in Condemning Federal Medical Marijuana Attacks

Momentum builds as more Democratic leadership stand up to threats & intimidation from Obama administration


U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement yesterday condemning the escalated attacks on state-compliant medical marijuana businesses in her state. Responding to recent federal government actions threatening safe access to medical marijuana, Pelosi said she has "long supported" and will "continue to strongly support" efforts 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."

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. Pelosi's statement comes 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 "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 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."

The group behind the recent momentum of opposition by local, state and federal elected 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, as well as other stakeholders seeking to maintain a safe and legal means by which qualified patients can obtain their medication. "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."

President Obama, who was recently interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, weakly defended his administration's practice of aggressively raiding permitted dispensaries by claiming that "there haven't been any prosecutions" of medical marijuana patients. President Obama conspicuously avoided the question of why he was 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 9 medical marijuana states since he took office in January 2009.

Americans for Safe Access is the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.