About AIDS

DEA Chief Booed by Officials Over Busts

Despite more urgent demands, the Drug Enforcement Administration continues energetically denying chronically ill people the use of physician-recommended marijuana. But in a little-reported twist recently, the DEA received some negative input over the issue from San Francisco business and political leaders.

One day last week, the feds busted San Francisco's medical marijuana buyers' co-op, arrested people, destroyed supplies, and seized patient records. The next day, the DEA chief spoke at San Francisco's posh Commonwealth Club, addressing the city's movers and shakers on the "drug war." The loud crowd of protesters outside were expected, but members of the audience -- including the president of the City Council and the DA -- booed him, too!

Medical research has finally begun, and various lawsuits are headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court; outcomes aren't yet known. But when eight states, mostly conservative states, pass laws allowing pot's medical use and establishment leaders weigh in so publicly, the federal government needs to pull its head out and look around. Limited marijuana use by a small group of patients for specific disease conditions is not a threat to the nation's security. What seems most operative here is ego, personal and institutional. One major irony, especially given this Republican administration's stance in the election: What ever happened to "states' rights"? The DEA needs to re-organize its priorities.

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