Vasconcellos Calls for Medical Marijuana Access in Face of Federal Action Against Clubs 1/15/98

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California State Senator John Vasconcellos held a press conference on January 12 to call for the full implementation of Proposition 215, passed by the state's voters in 1996, which allows for the use of medicinal marijuana by the sick and dying. His call came just days after officials of the Clinton Administration vowed to close all of California's cannabis buyers' clubs, which are illegal under federal law.

Vasconcellos promised to push for the passage of a bill, which he sponsored last year, which would establish a three- year study by the University of California on marijuana's medicinal value. He also said that he plans to appeal the federal action against the clubs. In addition, the senator will push for a state-wide summit aimed at devising a plan for the distribution of medical marijuana to those who have legitimate medical need. Vasconcellos' office told The Week Online that they are hoping to convince the Department of Justice to take part in the summit, and thus to become part of the solution. "If Dan Lundgren (California's Attorney General) co-sponsors this summit, we think that Justice will participate. Lundgren, although he disagrees with us right now on the issue, has been very open-minded. He truly wants the evidence to be evaluated, and to do the right thing by the people of California."

The federal threat (as reported in last week's Week Online) comes despite efforts by a number of California city governments to work with medical marijuana distributors to ensure the availability of the medicine with the least possible diversion to the black market. Vasconcellos said that he would ask his colleagues in the California legislature to sign a letter to President Clinton in protest against the federal response, and is urging citizens to do the same.

A spokesman for Vasconcellos told the Week Online, "We're in the process of getting a letter circulated to California legislators opposing the federal action. We're hopeful that a majority will sign on, and that that will get the attention of the administration. We can't believe that they (the Clinton Administration) really intend to thumb their nose at the will of the majority of California voters, and we're counting on them to become part of a process of problem-solving. Right now, this unilateral action on the part of the federal government is being perceived by Californians as an intrusion and an affront to the will of the voters. We're sure that that's not what they (the administration) want."


Send a letter - or a fax - to President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and, if you are a California resident, Governor Pete Wilson and Attorney General Dan Lundgren. In it, please ask (politely) that they come together, in respect of the will of the voters of California, and the needs of suffering Californians, to find a solution to the issue of the distribution of medical marijuana. In your communications to the White House, you may want to mention that the administration's respect, or lack thereof, for the will of the people will weigh heavily in your assessment of Al Gore's candidacy for the Presidency.

President Bill Clinton, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20500. V: (202) 456-1414 F: (202) 456-2461

Vice President Al Gore, Old Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20501. V: (202) 456-2326 F: (202) 456-2685

(You can also e-mail them, although this has less impact than the above modes of communication, at [email protected] and [email protected])

Governor Pete Wilson, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814, V: (916) 445-2841, F: (916) 445-4633,

Attorney General Dan Lundgren, 1300 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, V: (916) 445-9555, F: (916) 324-5205

-- END --
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Issue #25, 1/15/98 Vasconcellos Calls for Medical Marijuana Access in Face of Federal Action Against Clubs | Defense Fund Established for Buyers' Club Defendants | Washington State Bill Authorizing Medical Marijuana to be Considered: Your responses needed! | Pentagon Proposes Ending Military Border Patrols | President Clinton Signs Directive: Authorizes $200 Million to try to Reduce Drugs Use... in Prisons | EU Parliament Delays Vote on Drug Commission Report | Colombian Foreign Minister: "If US Doesn't Certify Us, There Will be a Political Earthquake" | British Medical Journal, Lancet, Calls on US to Act on Needle Exchange | New Australian Harm Reduction-Based Drug-Ed Program Sends Kids to Teach Kids | Nuclear Cruiser USS California Deployed in Drug War | Harm Reduction Workshop in Boston
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