Pubdate: Sun, 11 Nov 2001
Source: Ventura County Star (CA)
Copyright: 2001, Ventura County Star
Author: Lynn Osburn and Judy Osburn, guest columnists
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Oakland Cannabis Court Case)


Re: the feds' crackdown on medical marijuana: We tended the marijuana garden
run by patients under the provisions of Proposition 215, located at our
Ventura County ranch, which was uprooted by the Drug Enforcement Agency. 

We are sad to announce that we must suspend cultivation activities until
such time as the legal issues surrounding the Sept. 28 and Oct. 25 raids on
the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Cooperative can be resolved. 

After five years of safe and reliable access to medical marijuana, closure
of the LACRC Co-Op Dispensary is, as Los Angeles Sheriff's Capt. Lynda
Castro said, "a difficult pill to swallow." 

The two DEA raids on the Ventura County patient-run garden and the West
Hollywood headquarters and subsequent suspension of cultivation and
disbursement activities is devastating LACRC's 1,000 members. 

This was clearly evident at the candlelight vigil held Nov. 6, the fifth
anniversary of the passage of California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996. We
spoke with many AIDS patients who had already lost weight and could now
manage to take only half of their prescribed treatment medications, and were
now forced to double their pharmaceutical pain medications, making it nearly
impossible to maintain the same quality of life that cannabis made possible. 

Cancer patients' faces appeared drawn from the stress of constant pain, and
some worried that under the federal crackdown their physicians might be too
scared to renew their recommendations for cannabis. 

One elderly woman had heard rumors that drug dealers were in a parking lot
nearby. She worriedly asked if someone would please point them out to her,
as she was desperate to get the cannabis her doctor had recommended. 

LACRC President Scott Imler announced with deep sadness that "we are not
prepared to distribute non-Co-Op products that we cannot vouch for the
safety of. That would be not only a disservice to our members, it would be
contrary to the understanding we have with doctors, law enforcement and
public officials who have worked with us and supported us." 

The city of West Hollywood helped purchase the LACRC building in October of
last year. The city held a news conference at City Hall the day after the
Oct. 25 raid. Sheriff's Capt. Castro, along with every member of the West
Hollywood City Council, and representatives, from Rep. Henry Waxman, state
Sen. Sheila Kuehl and Assembly members Paul Koretz and Jackie Goldberg,
participated in the news conference expressing sadness at the damage done by
the DEA to the community. "Where's the sensitivity level here?" asked Capt.

Elected city, state and federal officials again supported LACRC at the Nov.
6 candlelight vigil, where Capt. Castro reiterated that Los Angeles
sheriff's deputies are trained to make evaluations of legal use in the field
and to leave plants intended for medical use intact. She recommended that
members follow LACRC's patient guidelines for dealing with law enforcement. 

Dozens of members are Ventura County residents. Keep your membership card
and doctor's letter with you at all times; show your membership card; show
your doctor's letter; tell the truth and be polite; and call LACRC

The center will continue to take field calls from law enforcement and verify
patients' qualifications under state law. Since all patient records were
seized, along with all plants, equipment and medicine, it is important for
members to update their files at the center. 

Congressman Henry Waxman sent a statement read at the vigil condemning the
raid by the DEA. Rep. Waxman said he is cosponsoring U.S. Reps. Barney
Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul's, R-Texas, House Resolution 2592, the States'
Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, which would move marijuana from schedule I
to schedule II of the Controlled Substance Act, thus enabling physicians to
legally prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients where allowed by state

We ask Venturans to contact their federal representatives to urge them to
support HR 2592. Time is of the essence as the number of patients
deteriorating is increasing. 

Lynn and Judy Osburn, Lockwood Valley.
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