Santa Cruz City Officials, Medical Marijuana Advocates Distribute Marijuana in Demonstration Outside City Hall
City officials from Santa Cruz joined medical marijuana advocates Tuesday outside City Hall to distribute marijuana to patients authorized to receive the drug for medicinal purposes, the Los Angeles Times reports (Glionna, Los Angeles Times, 9/18). Proposition 215, a ballot measure approved by voters in 1996, allows patients with chronic diseases such as cancer and AIDS to use medical marijuana to treat pain. The state Supreme Court unanimously ruled in July that state residents who cultivate or use marijuana for medical purposes with a physician's recommendation are protected from state prosecution under Proposition 215 (California Healthline, 7/23). Santa Cruz Mayor Christopher Krohn, members of the Santa Cruz City Council and workers from the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana joined together Tuesday to "symbolically" distribute medical marijuana to approximately a dozen patients who are already allowed to receive the drug. Richard Meyer, a spokesperson for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said, "[F]ederal law supersedes state law, and under federal law, marijuana is illegal. Drugs are not something to joke about, especially the city-sanctioned distribution of marijuana" (Los Angeles Times, 9/18). But proponents of medical marijuana at the Santa Cruz rally said that their goal is not the legalization of marijuana, but the permission to distribute "a medicinal herb." City officials stated Tuesday that they will continue to "deliver marijuana to the sick and dying" despite federal efforts to prohibit medical marijuana distribution (Booth, Washington Post, 9/18). "We are not California wackos. We are trailblazers. We are normal. This is not an attempt to embarrass the DEA but rather a compassionate gathering in support of sick people who need their medicine," Krohn said (LeDuff/Liptak, New York Times, 9/18).
- NPR's All Things Considered" yesterday reported on the distribution of medical marijuana in Santa Cruz (Gonzales, "All Things Considered," NPR, 9/17). The full segment is available in RealPlayer Audio online.
- NPR's "Morning Edition" today also reported on the debate in Santa Cruz (Gonzales, "Morning Edition," NPR, 9/18). The full segment is available in RealPlayer Audio online.