Medical Marijuana Supporters Demonstrate at Fundraiser for Presidential Candidate Howard Dean 3/7/03

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Jessica Wray for DRCNet

The Marijuana Policy Project ( organized a protest in Washington DC on Tuesday, March 4, outside a fundraiser being held by 2004 Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean. Dean, a physician and former governor of Vermont, stifled state legislation that would have allowed patients to benefit from the relief marijuana provides without facing criminal sanctions. Protesters pointed that because of Dean, medical marijuana patients in Vermont have to risk up to six months of jail time if they are prosecuted for marijuana possession, or not use marijuana and live with increased suffering from their various illnesses.

Protesters held signs for those attending Dean's fundraising event with statements such as "Stop Arresting Patients for Medical Marijuana," "80% of Americans Support Medical Marijuana," and "Another Democrat for Medical Marijuana." Protestors received quite a receptive response from passersby. One woman who seemed to be attending the fundraising event remarked to her companion that she doesn't feel like so much of a liberal now. One man asked for more information about Dean and vowed that he would not support Dean because of his stance on medical marijuana. Many others passing the protest asked how they can support the cause or if there was an informative flyer available, which of course there was. Another man asked for a button that read "Stop Arresting Patients for Medical Marijuana" and stood with the protestors.

Howard Dean's web site ( states, "You can always compromise when you are fighting over money, but there can never be a compromise when it comes to basic human rights. I never had the discussion with myself about whether or not this was a good idea for my political career... I knew I could be politically expedient, or I could do what was right." But medical marijuana advocates are unsatisfied with Dean's human rights record.

Ironically, while Dean's fundraiser took place and medical marijuana supporters protested, 30 miles to the east in Annapolis, medical marijuana patients testified before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee in support of a bill introduced in the state's legislature.

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Issue #277, 3/7/03 50 Years for Stealing Videotapes? No Problem, Say Justices -- Supreme Court Upholds California Three-Strikes Law | Medical Marijuana Update: Bill Killed in New Mexico, New Ones Introduced in New York and Rhode Island | Australia: NSW Green Party Drug Platform in Tabloid Exposé Furor as Election Looms | "Seeds of Peace" Released in Brussels as Prelude to Vienna UN Conference | Medical Marijuana Supporters Demonstrate at Fundraiser for Presidential Candidate Howard Dean | Alert: HEA Reform Legislation Re-filed, Needs Your Support | Newsbrief: Swiss Lawmakers Give Okay to Continued Prescription Heroin | Newsbrief: Sweden's Drug Head Calls for Needle Exchange Programs Across Country | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Oxycontin Not So Deadly, Researchers Find | Newsbrief: California Highway Patrol Settles Racial Profiling Lawsuit | Kansas Legislators Consider "Treatment Not Jail" Bill | Newsbrief: In Surprise Move, Judge Changes Mind, Declines to Jail Oakland Cannabis Co-op Head | Newsbrief: Two Suicides Enough for One Pot Bust, Says Wisconsin Judge, Orders Probation for Son of Dead Couple | Media Scan: New York Times, The Economist, The Independent, Washington Times, Change the Climate Ads, HRC Newsletter | Drug War Vigil Film Festival Seeking Submissions | The Reformer's Calendar

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