Advocates argue DOJ attacks unnecessarily harm over 1 million patients and may endanger Obama's re-election effort
Hundreds of patients will hold rallies Thursday at 5 p.m. at local "Obama for America" campaign offices and other key locations in at least 15 cities in eight states across the country in an effort to draw attention to the Obama Administration's aggressive efforts to shut down legal medical marijuana dispensaries and obstruct the passage of laws that would regulate such activity.
In addition to a lively rally in the nation's capitol, demonstrations organized by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) are planned in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.
In Seattle, medical marijuana advocates are holding a press conference at City Hall on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. local time, featuring City Council member Nick Licata, State Rep. Roger Goodman, and State Senator Jeanna Kohl-Welles.
The press conference, which will be a united call for the suspension of Justice Department enforcement actions in medical marijuana states, will be followed by a 2 p.m. rally at the federal building at 700 Stewart Street. Times and locations for other rallies can be found below.
The national coordinated day of actions against the Obama Administration's medical marijuana policies is part of ASA's campaign "Camp WakeUpObama," which was launched this summer in an effort to draw attention to the Justice Department (DOJ) attacks and the disconnect between public statements made by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, and the actions of U.S. Attorneys in medical marijuana states.
Another motivation for the rallies being held Thursday is to stand in solidarity with the more than one million medical marijuana patients across the country who have been negatively affected by the Obama Administration's policies
Over the past three years, the DOJ has conducted more than 200 SWAT-style federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids on legitimate medical marijuana businesses in at least six states -- at twice the rate as the Bush Administration -- and indicted more than 70 related to medical marijuana. In addition, U.S. Attorneys have threatened public officials who attempt to pass laws regulating local distribution and, at the same time, have threatened hundreds of landlords with seizure of their property if they didn't promptly evict the medical marijuana businesses renting from them.
"President Obama must tell the more than one million patients in this country how he intends to move this issue forward in his next administration," said Steph Sherer, ASA's executive director. "We are sick and tired of being told to vote against our health."
"Thursday's rallies are aimed at conveying that patients and their families are voters who may be influenced this November by the president's broken promises on this issue," Sherer said.
As a campaigning senator and after taking office, Obama said he was "not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state [medical marijuana] laws."
Patient advocates are also awaiting oral arguments before the federal D.C. Circuit on October 16th in Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, a case that is expected to see vigorous debate over the science of medical marijuana and its therapeutic efficacy.
What: Coordinated rallies across the country to protest the Obama Administration's attacks in medical states
When: Thursday, September 20th (mostly) at 5 p.m. Local Time - check below for accurate times of events
Where: Local "Obama for America" campaign offices and other key locations in cities like Denver (CO), Oakland (CA), Phoenix (AZ), San Diego (CA), Seattle (WA), Tucson (AZ), and Washington, D.C. (see below for a list of addresses)
Sample times and locations for planned nationwide rallies (local times apply):
430 South Capitol Street, SE - 5 pm rally
3100 Downing St. - 5 pm rally
Frank Ogawa Plaza - 5 pm rally
103 West Highland - 5 pm rally
San Diego, CA
4660 El Cajon Boulevard - 5 pm rally
City Hall - 10:30 am press conference
700 Stewart St. - 2 pm rally
4639 East 1st St. - 5 pm rally