Marijuana Advocates Protest at Obama Fundraiser in San Francisco
Demonstrator Tommy Schneider, left, a Democrat from Bentwood, Calif., protests with a sign outside of hotel where President Obama was appearing in downtown San Francisco, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
Marijuana advocates on Tuesday gathered outside a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama to protest a federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives, including a raid on a Mendocino County growing operation.
They joined people protesting war and a proposed oil pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico, according to news reports.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has denounced the Department of Justice crackdown as a “bankrupt and cynical attack” on state and local medical cannabis laws. The organization’s California director, Dale Gieringer, said federal agents have targeted legitimate medicinal pot providers, like Northstone Organics, located north of Ukiah in Redwood Valley.
Northstone Organics had obtained a permit from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office to grow 99 plants but the permit provided no protection from federal drug enforcement agents, who confiscated the plants two weeks ago. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Northstone was among the first to sign up for Mendocino County’s novel program and founder Matt Cohen is considered a model of compliance with medicinal marijuana regulations.
Mendocino County Supervisor John McCowen is among his supporters.
“It is outrageous that Matthew Cohen has been raided by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Matthew Cohen was the first medical marijuana advocate in Mendocino County to call for regulation of the cultivation and dispensing of medical marijuana to prevent black market diversion,” he said in a letter of support.
Prior to Tuesday’s protest, marijuana advocates announced they would be mounting a ballot initiative effort aimed at instituting state regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.