MILLION MARIJUANA MARCH - Mitch Perry

05/03/04

In front of the Drug Enforcement Agency's Tampa office on Saturday, advocates for the legalization of Marijuana for Medicinal purposes held a one hour protest.......

Similar vents were also planned in more than 300 cities worldwide as part of "The Million Marijuana March."

Anthony Lorenzo is the Vice President of the Florida Cannabis Action Network. He said one of the goals of such groups in the U.S. is to hold Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry to his promise to stop the arrest of cannabis patients in the first 100 days in office(roll tape#1 o.q."Schedule 1 Substances")

Lorenzo says that a big issue that Drug Reform policy people are working on these days is to improve the quality of pot that is legally being distributed to the people in the states that allow for Medicinal marijuana (roll tape#2 o.q."surpasses in quality")

Currently 9 states In the U.S. have medical-marijuana laws on the books.......2 years ago, there was a serious attempt by Harm Reduction Advocates to Get a Constitutional Amendment Initiative on the Florida Ballot.... But that attempt died before it ever really got started.....The Florida Cannabis Action Network's says the money people behind that campaign have moved on (roll tape#3 o.q."that they support this issue")

Although nine states, have medical-marijuana laws, the Justice Department contends that federal drug laws that criminalize marijuana take precedence over state laws...But last month, a Federal Judge in California ORDERED the Federal Government NOT to raid or prosecute Medical-Marijuana Clubs...

The ruling pertained to a lawsuit filed by the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. The medical-marijuana group took legal action after federal Drug Enforcement Administration ) agents raided its grow operation and seized 167 marijuana plants.

A Justice Department spokesman said the government is reviewing Fogel's ruling.

A man who identified himself only as "Steve" suffers from Hepatitis C and takes Interferon to treat the virus. He says those treatments can be incredibly painful, and he smokes marijuana to ease that pain. (roll tape#5 o.q."Hepatitis")

And "Steve" believes it's absurd that he could be be arrested for taking care of his pain by indulging in cannabis inside his home (roll tape#5 o.q."Normal healthy life")

A man who would only identify himself by the first name of Fred is the treasurer for the Tampa chapter of the Florida Cannabis Action Network. He has a succinct response to those who scoff at demonstrators advocating to be allowed to smoke marijuana (roll tape#4 o.q.'to make their own decision")

OUTRO: In Connecticut last week, The House of Representatives voted 75-71 to approve an amendment that would let those with cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and other serious illnesses use the drug to relieve nausea and other symptoms, with a doctor's written permission.

It must pass the State Senate this week to become law there...

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