My name is Steve Collett and I’m running for US Congressional District 33 this November. One of my top ten issues is ending the drug war. Here is my position on medical marijuana.
Cannabis Sativa has been used medicinally for thousands of years and has been prescribed to treat a diverse number of ailments including treatment for nausea, insomnia, lack of appetite, chronic pain, alcohol abuse, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and more.
According to an approved statement from the US Department of Justice in 1988, "Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But cannabis is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality. In practical terms, cannabis cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity."
From January 1997 to June 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported zero deaths caused by the primary use of cannabis. In contrast, common FDA-approved drugs which are often prescribed in lieu of cannabis (such as anti-emetics and anti-psychotics), were the primary cause of 10,008 deaths.
While those of us fighting to end the war on drugs, the Federal government seems to have a different course of action.
Earlier this month, in Oakland, agents of the DEA, IRS and U.S. Marshall's Office converged to execute an early morning raid on Richard Lee’s ‘Oaksterdam’ complex of businesses.
Richard Lee has long been known as an outspoken pro-cannabis and hemp activist. He was the inspiration and the primary financial donor to California’s failed Prop. 19.
Less than 5 miles from the raid Oakland’s police resources were also being tapped to deal with a fatal shooting that left seven dead at a Christian medical University.
I am ashamed that law enforcement had lost basic reasoning when prioritizing their actions. "Why are these officers harassing and arresting leaders of lawful organizations while 8 people are being shot at just a few blocks away?"
A call was placed to Melinda Haag, regional Attorney General for Northern California, but was not returned as of the writing of this piece. San Francisco DEA spokesperson, Jocelyn Barnes stated, “This raid is on par for what we do.”
We need our trusted Federal law enforcement officers to go after criminals that are causing legitimate harm and damage to our communities and citizens. They need to respect California law and the will of California voters.
Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance commented on President Obama’s message about the drug war at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he is attending the World Economic Forum’s regional Latin America meeting. “This is very much a bipartisan issue. We’re not going to see the same sorts of sniping from left and right on this issue (the drug war) as on others. And I think that means that this debate is going to grow stronger and more bolder as a result.”
In a climate of skyrocketing health care costs, incarceration costs and government debt, federal law enforcement efforts to limit safe access to medical cannabis is a colossal waste. Medical cannabis has widespread acceptance as a safe, effective, and economical treatment option.
As a citizen, I have written and spoken extensively to protect rights of medical cannabis patients, providers and caregivers. As a member of Congress, I will fight for the protections of all for safe and unfettered access to medical cannabis in California and the nation.
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