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Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 02:39:03 -0500
From: Marijuana Policy Project <MPP@MPP.ORG>
Subject: Drug Czar Holds Meeting to Undermine California Medicinal Marijuana Victory


In an effort to thwart the will of California voters, "Drug Czar" Barry McCaffrey is holding a meeting at 2:30 p.m. today in his Washington, D.C., office to plot strategy with law-enforcement officials from California on how to undermine the implementation of the medicinal marijuana ballot initiative.

By a 56-44 margin, California voters on November 5 passed Proposition 215, an initiative to allow patients with their physicians' recommendations to use marijuana for medicine. The California legislature passed similar legislation in 1995, but Governor Pete Wilson vetoed it. Fortunately, voter initiatives become law without the governor's signature.

During the Proposition 215 campaign, California Attorney General Dan Lungren, Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates, and California Narcotic Officers' Association Spokesperson Tom Gorman actively campaigned against the initiative. The MPP has learned that the latter two individuals will be meeting with ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey today.

After the passage of the initiative, McCaffrey stated that federal laws would still be enforced despite the will of California voters, patients would be arrested for using their medicine, and doctors would be prosecuted for "prescribing" marijuana.

"McCaffrey doesn't know what he's talking about," said Robert Kampia, director of government relations of the Marijuana Policy Project. "Doctors in California will not be prescribing marijuana -- they will simply be making informed recommendations as to whether their patients could benefit from marijuana."

"This is a decision that should be between doctors and seriously ill patients," said Kampia. "Culture clowns like Barry McCaffrey should cut their losses and stop persecuting sick people in California and Arizona." Arizona voters passed Proposition 200, a similar but broader ballot measure, by a 65-35 margin on November 5.

The MPP plans to continue lobbying for federal legislation to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana and to coordinate activists in other states to pass laws similar to the California initiative. Marijuana is often beneficial as part of the treatment of cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions.

The Marijuana Policy Project lobbies the federal government for marijuana-law reform.


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