Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jan 2007
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 2007 The Capital Times
Note: Usually does not publish letters from outside the state.
Author: Gary Storck
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Dear Editor: Congress not only needs to enact sentencing reform, as 
Dave Zweifel says in "Sentencing laws should make sense," but also 
must protect medical marijuana patients and providers being targeted 
by federal agents in the 11 states that have legalized this therapy.

Not only are people acting legally under these state laws being 
arrested for federal offenses, they are then being sentenced to long 
federal prison terms. A prime example is Stephanie Landa, a 
60-year-old medical cannabis patient and provider who on Jan. 4 
turned herself in to federal authorities in San Francisco to begin a 
41-month term for growing her medicine.

Just Wednesday, Drug Enforcement Administration agents simultaneously 
raided 11 medical cannabis dispensaries in the Los Angeles area. In 
West Hollywood, a city with a self-proclaimed "long-standing 
commitment" to the use of medical marijuana for patients with 
HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses, city officials were stunned 
when the raids took out five of the city's seven dispensaries.

For an administration constantly harping about spreading democracy, 
the Bush administration's continued subverting of state laws and 
states' rights is the height of hypocrisy. Making war on sick people 
for their choice of medicine is not only cruel and immoral, but a 
complete misallocation of federal resources.

Medical marijuana supporters in Congress, the bulk of them Democrats, 
unsuccessfully tried four times since 2003 to pass a budget amendment 
that would eliminate these wasteful raids. Now that Democrats are in 
the majority, with medical marijuana supporter Nancy Pelosi as House 
speaker, it's time to end this madness once and for all by not just 
ending the raids, but by passing legislation allowing all Americans 
equal and legal access to this valuable medicine.

Gary Storck

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