Marijuana activists form Patient Voter Project, blast Obama's MMJ policies
At 11 a.m. today, a rally will take place outside President Barack Obama's local campaign headquarters. But the participants won't be calling for his reelection -- at least not yet. Instead, the charter members of the Patient Voter Project, made up of numerous prominent marijuana advocates, will be criticizing the Obama administration's approach to medical marijuana in Colorado -- and flexing their political muscles in advance of this November's vote.
"It's a large and wide ranging coalition of groups that care about medical marijuana patients," says Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado, which is joined by the Marijuana Policy Project,, Americans for Safe Access, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation and Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America in the new organization. "These groups care about medical marijuana patients, and they've come together to highlight the fact that the Obama administration is engaging in hostile activities against medical marijuana patients in Colorado."
The prime example of this behavior for the Patient Voter Project are U.S. Attorney John Walsh's seizure-threat letters to 23 dispensaries near schools.
"John Walsh, who is President Obama's employee, has asked these state-legal dispensaries to shut down," Vicente notes. "We're concerned about those actions and any potential escalation, and the effect it could have on our state's 100,000 medical marijuana patients."
After the release of a memo by then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, which advised federal law-enforcers not to expend scarce resources prosecuting MMJ operations that follow the law in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, the Obama administration was widely praised by those in the industry. But a followup directive by Deputy Attorney General James Cole drew a harsher line, opening the door to actions like the recent Walsh letters. And that's frustrating to folks like Vicente.
"There's a real sense among medical marijuana patients and supporters that the Obama administration and the federal government has turned its back on Colorado voters who support medical marijuana patients," he maintains. "We've seen the IRS getting active, shutting down these safe access centers. We've seen that with the ATF preventing medical marijuana patients from having access to weapons permits. And we've seen that in banking, with Treasury and the U.S. Justice Department not allowing banks to work with these state-legal and licensed facilities."
Given these developments, the Patient Voter Project is intent on reminding the Obama campers that they can't simply assume dubious marijuana reformers will eventually line up behind the President.
Page down to continue reading about the Patient Voter Project and today's event.