Press Release  | 10/02/2002

Doonesbury Highlights DEA Persecution of Medical Marijuana Patients

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Nationally Syndicated Comic Strip Joins Elected Leaders, Others in Protest of Recent DEA Raids in Santa Cruz, San Diego
Demonstrations and Mobilization Continue in California and Throughout the Country

Political satirist Garry Trudeau and his nationally syndicated comic strip Doonesbury have emerged as the latest voice of protest to recent Drug Enforcement Administration raids of medical marijuana patients and caregivers in California. Running from Monday September 30 through Wednesday October 2, Trudeau highlights the government's war on the sick and dying, basing one character on Brian Epis, the first medical marijuana provider convicted since the Supreme Court ruled against medical necessity as a defense.

The Epis character asks, "Does the Attorney General have any shame at all?"

"Nope," the comic answers, followed by a voice from the White House:

"So get out there and kick some terminally ill ass!"

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, stresses the importance of the comic. "There's nothing like a Doonesbury strip to drive a stake through the hearts of the zealots in the White House."

On Tuesday September 24 Federal Agents arrested medical marijuana grower Steve Williams while uprooting his plants. This came on the heels of the DEA's September 6 raid of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz, CA, a hospice where 85 percent of patients are terminally ill. Doonesbury joins California Governor Grey Davis, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and dozens of community leaders in supporting AIDS and cancer patients and other ill individuals legally using medical marijuana under Proposition 215, a state law passed in 1996 allowing the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Despite numerous raids and attacks on California cannabis clubs, local and national mobilization efforts have not dwindled. Following simultaneous September 23 protests in Sacramento and Washington DC, which culminated in the arrests of dozens of activists opposing misguided federal medical marijuana policies, patients, caregivers, and advocates continue to stand strong. "We will continue to uphold the rights of seriously ill patients and the will of California voters in the face of governmental persecution," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. "It is time for the drug warriors to end their war on the most vulnerable and defenseless of our citizens."

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711

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