Feds supply medical marijuana to some, prosecute others

Feds supply medical marijuana to some, prosecute others


SAN DIEGO—One of seven patients who receives marijuana for medical purposes from the federal government stood before a billboard featuring Ashley Epis, the daughter of a medical marijuana martyr and asked: “Why is the government sending Ashley’s father to prison for medical marijuana when they give it to me for free?”

Elvy Mussika, a glaucoma patient who is one of seven legal patients provided marijuana by the federal government, appeared at a press conference in San Diego recently. She stood in front of a billboard that featured 8-year-old Ashley Epis, daughter of a federal prisoner who was sentenced to 10 years for growing medical marijuana that he believed to be legal under California’s medical marijuana law, Prop. 215. She noted: “Marijuana saved my sight, it relieves illnesses for tens of thousands in California, it is a misuse of power for the DEA to incarcerate people trying to provide medicine to the ill.”

The ads show Ashley holding a sign saying, “My Dad is not a criminal,” with the message: “Medical marijuana: compassion, not federal prison.” (www.MedicalMJ.org) Photographs of Ms. Mussika in front of the billboard are at http:/ www.medicalmj.org/news020303.htm.

While the FDA provides patients with medical marijuana, the DEA insists that marijuana isn’t medicine, ignoring the growing body of scientific evidence, medical opinion to the contrary, and the experience of tens of thousands of patients and physicians in California and seven other states that have legalized medical marijuana.

“Mussika has been receiving a monthly supply of legal marijuana since the Reagan presidency,” noted Kevin Zeese, president of Common Sense for Drug Policy and an attorney who helped Mussika receive her legal supply. “Federal health officials are doing the same thing as the people the DEA is treating like drug kingpins—providing medicine to the ill—one hand of the federal government does not know what the other is doing.”

The DEA is waging an unprecedented assault on Prop. 215, arresting and prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government has prosecuted more cases for medical marijuana than terrorism in California. Outraged by what they perceive as disdain for the sick and dying, 15 state and national organizations have united to publicize the government’s attack on patients and their caregivers. The statewide billboard campaign is part of that effort.

Coalition for Medical Marijuana

http://medicalmj.org/ or info@medicalmj.org.

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