Lockyer Requests Meeting with Federal Officials To Discuss Medical Marijuana Raids
Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) on Friday sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Drug Enforcement Administration Director Asa Hutchinson requesting a meeting to discuss a "growing list of provocative and intrusive incidents of harassment" by federal officials against state medical marijuana growers, the Sacramento Bee reports (Cooper, Sacramento Bee, 9/7). Federal agents on Thursday raided a "nationally known medicinal marijuana farm" in Santa Cruz, marking the "most aggressive crackdown" on such a facility in the San Francisco area to date, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Mintz, San Jose Mercury News, 9/7). Under Proposition 215, a ballot measure approved by California voters in 1996, patients with chronic diseases such as cancer and AIDS can use medical marijuana to treat pain, and the state Supreme Court last month ruled that residents who cultivate or use medical marijuana with a physician's recommendation are protected from state prosecution under the law (California Healthline, 8/6). However, growing marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and last week's raid appears to "cement a policy change" for federal officials, who previously have relied on civil court orders to stop medical marijuana distributors (San Jose Mercury News, 9/7). In his letter, Lockyer wrote that the raids -- which he described as "punitive expeditions" -- undermine joint efforts between federal and local law enforcement to "fight dangerous drugs and the major narco-terrorist organizations that manufacture and distribute them" (Sacramento Bee, 9/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.