Pubdate: Fri, 27 Aug 2004
Source: Union Democrat, The (CA)
Copyright: 2004 Western Communications, Inc
Author: Alisha Wyman
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


Outside the Sonora Opera Hall yesterday, Christopher DeMars sat in his
wheelchair holding a sign that said "Cannabis can save us." With him
were his son, Christopher Hart DeMars, and friend, Gary Dirks, each
with their own signs.

Inside the hall, GOP Senate candidate Bill Jones was speaking to
members of the community to rally Mother Lode vote in the upcoming
November election.

The protest was directed toward Republicans, who the elder DeMars says
are trying to keep him from using marijuana to ease the symptoms of
progressive multiple sclerosis.

"Republicans are the ones who have been waging war on medical patients
in the last six years," the Sonora man said. "They all need to know,
they're letting the ball drop, and we're being tortured."

Despite a California law that makes marijuana legal for medical
purposes, DeMars said he has been arrested for growing the illegal
weed in his home. Two years ago the disease forced him into a
wheelchair. The pot helps ease pain and ends sleepless nights, he said.

While the pickets' signs elicited honks and shouts of both in support
and against the messages from passing cars, Christopher Hart DeMars
said he doubted they were provoking a strong reaction from Jones.

"It's more of an informal poll," he said.

People pulled their cars over or walked up to ask them where to get
the drug for pain or to debate the merits of using marijuana medically.

Teri Murrison, the Tuolumne County volunteer chairwoman for Jones'
campaign, said the pickets' presence in no way marred the luncheon.

"It is an exercise of their rights in the Unites States," she said. "I
think it gave the event some flavor."

Jones supports the law in California but thinks there are other
options for patients besides marijuana, he said.

"I believe in FDA-approved drugs," Jones said. "That's the way we
should handle it." 
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