By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com September 18 2002 11:00 PM ET
Medical marijuana advocates and city officials from Santa Cruz, Calif., joined together Tuesday to distribute marijuana to patients authorized to receive it at city hall in a protest of federal actions against medical marijuana users and distributors in the state, the Los Angeles Times reports. California's Proposition 215, passed by voters in 1996, allows patients with chronic diseases like cancer and AIDS to use the drug to treat symptoms of their illnesses. The California supreme court earlier this year supported the voter-approved initiative, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that there is no exemption in federal drug laws for medical marijuana distribution, possession, or use.
Santa Cruz mayor Christopher Krohn, members of the city council, and workers from the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana worked together to symbolically distribute medical marijuana to about a dozen patients authorized by the state to receive the drug. Federal officials from the Drug Enforcement Agency recently raided the Wo/Men's Alliance, which triggered the city-backed protest. City officials said Tuesday they would continue to deliver medical marijuana to the sick and dying in defiance of federal authorities. "We are not California wackos," said Krohn. "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."
DEA officials expressed dismay over the protest and Krohn's pledge. "Federal law supersedes state law, and under federal law, marijuana is illegal," said DEA spokesman Richard Meyer. "Drugs are not something to joke about, especially the city-sanctioned distribution of marijuana."