by David Downs
Hundreds of medical cannabis patients and allies are expected to begin gathering in downtown Oakland at noon today for a five-hour-long protest to end the federal crackdown on medical marijuana.
Supporters plan to gather in the plaza at Oakland city hall at 12 p.m. for street theater, followed by a 1:30 p.m. press conference and other events scheduled to coincide with the visit of President Obama, who will hold a fundraiser at the Fox Theater this evening.
Downtown Oakland is currently draped in green flags in a sign of solidarity with persecuted medical marijuana businesses. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag is trying to seize Harborside Health Center's leased property on the Embarcadero, and the Drug Enforcement Administration raided cannabis college Oaksterdam this spring. Harborside remains open. Oaksterdam has begun teaching again.
While the Obama Administration has codified de facto immunity for lawful medical pot patients and their caregivers, federal agents have declared open season on marijuana enterprises. Four U.S. Attorneys in California have helped to close hundreds of dispensaries in California.
Medical marijuana patient advocates say that closing storefront collectives eliminates access to the life-saving drug for those who need it the most: the seriously ill who are too sick, unskilled and unconnected to grow or obtain pot. The D.E.A. positions is that has no medical use, and is an illegal schedule 1 drug.
We'll be tweeting from our awkwardly-named @LegaliztionNatn twitter account.
Pictures from Monday: