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Degé Coutee, Patient Advocacy Network: How Can Patients Respond to Further Federal Interference? Part I

How Can Patients Respond to Further Federal Interference? Part I
by Degé Coutee, October 6, 2011

The Department of Justice, DEA, IRS and ATF have teamed up to thwart patients’ rights. U.S. Attorneys have issued a new round of threat letters to property owners leasing commercial space to patient collectives. The DEA scoffs at States’ medical cannabis laws, continues to raid collectives, seizes bank accounts and threatens banks that do business with dispensaries. The IRS is going after the largest/oldest collectives for filing false tax returns claiming millions in back taxes are owed. The ATF has announced legally qualified patients under state law have no 2nd Amendment rights. 

For your reference, some news links from the last week:
http://www.news10.net/news/article/157615/2/Feds-threaten-marijuana-dispensary-landlords
http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x651158529/Feds-stir-the-pot-as-Kern-tries-to-regulate-marijuana
http://www.redwoodtimes.com/garbervillenews/ci_18844525
http://www.registerguard.com/web/newslocalnews/26958813-41/marijuana-agents-federal-plants-medical.html.csp
http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2011/09/dea_raids_medical_marijuana_cl.php
http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/01/3951917/feds-seize-bank-accounts-of-2.html
http://www.coloradoconnection.com/news/story.aspx?id=669992
http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/05/8153459-irs-ruling-strikes-fear-in-medical-marijuana-industry
http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/ATFOpenLetter092111.pdf

The DEA raided two collectives in California’s Southland October 5, 2011, and U.S Attorneys are expected to make a statement this Friday during a press conference in Sacramento about their ‘new policy’ regarding ‘marijuana distributors.’ The Feds appear poised to launch a coordinated attack geared to shut down as many patient collectives and gardens around the country as possible and make patients fear for their personal safety. While collective directors shoulder most of this stress and burden, the most vulnerable patients are also in the crosshairs. Low income, disabled patients rely on the dispensary system for free medicine, sometimes delivered to their homes.

However, Congress obviously does not hear our voices. We are still a fearful and silent majority. When PAN visited Congressional offices, we were quite surprised to hear that most never had a visit from a qualified patient there to discuss medical cannabis. PAN learned that what we brought to the Congressional table was extremely important to patients’ rights. We also learned that no one advocate, no one organization will sway Congress. We must act in great numbers speaking from our own individual, diverse experiences.

The rest of this series will cover the many ways patients can help change federal law and end federal interference.

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