Pubdate: Wed, 19 Feb 2003
Source: Oakland Tribune, The (CA)
Copyright: 2003 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers
Author: Colin Atagi


OAKLAND -- The fight for access to medical marijuana continued Tuesday 
across the nation and in downtown Oakland, as demonstrators demanded the 
eviction of the Drug Enforcement Administration from the Ronald V. Dellums 
Federal Building.

Members of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and medical marijuana supporters 
protested government actions preventing patients from using marijuana to 
treat illnesses.

Protesters gathered from noon to 1 p.m. outside the building waiting for 
the DEA to respond. Fake eviction notices from the protesters were posted 
on the building's front doors.

"The government is overreaching something that is supported by 80 percent 
of Americans," said Hilary McQuie, ASA campaign coordinator. "I think it's 
incomprehensible ... what kind of priorities are these?"

Guards would not allow protesters or reporters inside the building and the 
DEA did not issue any statement about the protest.

Although California and local laws permit medicinal use, federal law still 
bans any and all cultivation, possession and use of marijuana. ASA 
representatives held rallies in 40 cities around the nation Tuesday in 
honor of Medical Marijuana Week.

"The DEA has been attacking medical marijuana use ... trying to keep people 
from getting their medicine," said protester Don Konechy. "The DEA needs to 
stop busting patients."

Protesters, dressed up as furniture movers and using a makeshift desk and 
boxed supplies, pretended to evict Assistant U.S. Attorney George Bevan.

Bevan, who recently prosecuted medical marijuana supplier Ed Rosenthal of 
Oakland, has prosecuted medical marijuana cases "without showing remorse," 
Konechy said.

Medical marijuana supporters sent cease-and-desist orders to the DEA office 
last year, but received no acknowledgment.

Charles Stevens, 70, of Berkeley said he has needed marijuana treatment 
since he was age 12. He said he will need to purchase it illegally if he is 
denied legal treatment.

"I'll just have to buy it undercover," he said. "They can't arrest me 
without arresting everyone else. The feds should do the right thing."

Angel McClary of Oakland has filed a civil lawsuit against the DEA and U.S. 
Attorney General John Ashcroft, requesting an injunction so marijuana can 
be grown and used for medicinal purposes without being confiscated by the 

"I feel strongly that I'm not a criminal," McClary said. "I'm very angry my 
government would come and try to take my life from me when my doctor says I 
need it."

McClary says she suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, a life-threatening 
wasting syndrome, a seizure disorder and several chronic pain conditions.

She said she could lose a pound a day if she is not treated with cannabis. 
"I could die," she said.
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