Pubdate: Tue, 10 Jan 2006
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2006 San Francisco Examiner
Author: Justin Jouvenal, Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


It's already easier to find a medical marijuana club than a 
McDonald's in San Francisco, but activists have their sights set on 
opening one more dispensary -- however briefly -- at one of The 
City's most famous buildings: City Hall.

In a high-profile nose-thumbing of federal drug enforcement 
officials, activists will hand out medical marijuana to a group of 
sick patients on the steps of City Hall at noon today. The bold 
protest is a response to the Drug Enforcement Agency raid on Dec. 20 
of the home of Catherine and Steve Smith, who run HopeNet, a 
well-known medical marijuana club in the South of Market area. Agents 
nearly raided HopeNet as well, but turned away after a group of 
protesters surrounded their cars.

"Basically, the giveaway is a response to the raid -- to show that 
city officials and community is behind us," said Catherine Smith, who 
runs the club with her husband. "We want the DEA to stay out of the 
medical marijuana business."

So far, Smith said neither she nor her husband have been charged with 
any crime, even though DEA agents carted off more than 120 pot plants 
from their house.

The protest follows a ceremony, where representatives from Mayor 
Gavin Newsom's office, Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Chris Daly, and 
other politicians hand out certificates of appreciation to the Smiths 
for their medical marijuana work.

"HopeNet has been one of the most generous in giving away medical 
marijuana to low-income patients," said Hilary McQuie, a spokeswoman 
for medical marijuana rights group Americans for Safe Access.

The protest is modeled on a similar one in 2002 at the Santa Cruz 
City Hall. It followed the raid of Women's Alliance for Medical 
Marijuana, a medical marijuana club in Santa Cruz.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman