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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Medical Marijuana Advocates Mourn Pot Club Closures in Mock Funeral

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 7:40 AM

click to enlarge SUZANNE STATHATOS
  • Suzanne Stathatos

There were plenty of tears shed during yesterday's funeral procession dedicated to medical marijuana and all the local dispensaries that have closed in the last year.

In the Haight, residents in black and white garb gathered around a New Orleans-style jazz band and a 12-foot papier mâché puppet of U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag as they mourned the shuttered medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco.
Haag's unpopular crusade prompted the Save Safe Access coalition to initiate this mock funeral, in which residents of all ages called for Haag to stop the federal crackdown that's closed nine dispensaries to date.
"Advocates argue that closures are needlessly driving patients into the illicit market," Linda Stokely, Safe Access media specialist, said.

The most recent closures came on Tuesday, when the Vapor Room and HopeNet shut down after Haag sent them letters warning the dispensaries that their property would be seized and they'd end up in prison if they didn't close their doors -- now. The feds have gone on this crusade, claiming any cannabis club doing business within 1,000 feet of a school or playground needs to go.
After clogging the streets, blocking buses, and pissing off plenty of grumpy commuters, the funeral procession ended at the Federal Building, where Haag conducts her anti-pot affairs.
Alongside tokers were Supervisors David Campos and Christina Olague, as well as Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who all came to emphasize the importance of these medical marijuana dispensaries to communities like San Francisco. They warned the recent closures will have a negative effect on Obama's presidential campaign.
click to enlarge Doesn't she kind of look stoned? - SUZANNE STATHATOS
  • Suzanne Stathatos
  • Doesn't she kind of look stoned?
"We really do need to hold the Obama administration responsible," Ammiano said. "We need to be a voice in reshaping what's come down in the past few months."
Protesters are particularly ticked off by Obama's about-face on the matter. In 2009, the president said, "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws." But in California, where medical marijuana is legal, pot clubs have experienced just the opposite from Obama.
Campos, who is openly gay, pointed to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, noting how the fight for the right to access cannabis is directly linked to the efforts of the LGBT community following the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
Safe Access reminded everyone that "San Francisco has been a sanctuary for medical cannabis since 2000. Unfortunately, safe access to medical cannabis is now in jeopardy, unless we take action to save safe access in San Francisco."
As Ammiano punned, "Yes we cannabis."

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Suzanne Stathatos


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