July 31, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHARMACY HOAX REVEALED
San Diego, CA – The San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s largest medical cannabis advocacy group, working with LGBT activism group Canvass for a Cause and as part of the The Yes Men’s “Yes Labs” project, released a series of satirical press releases on Tuesday which indicated that U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy would begin targeting pharmacies for closure using asset forfeiture proceedings. The purpose of the action was to draw attention to the U.S. Attorney’s harmful efforts to deny patients access to doctor-recommended medical cannabis.
“Just as the closure of retail pharmacies, like CVS or Walgreens, is poor public health policy, so is the federal government’s crackdown on medical cannabis dispensaries,” said Eugene Davidovich of San Diego ASA. “Pharmacies, like medical cannabis dispensaries, play an essential role in our communities as they help the sick and dying treat and manage various medical conditions,” continued Davidovich. “Laura Duffy and the Obama Administration have no place interfering in the implementation of state law by shutting down dispensaries that thousands of patients rely on.”
The real Laura Duffy isn’t joking. In October 2011, Duffy and her fellow U.S. Attorneys in California began an escalated attack on medical cannabis businesses. “The California marijuana industry is not about providing medicine to the sick,” said Duffy at the time. “It’s a pervasive for-profit industry that violates federal law.” Since October, Duffy has used threats of criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture to close over two hundred medical cannabis facilities in her District.
Despite claims from Attorney General Eric Holder that his Justice Department was only targeting dispensaries operating “out of conformity with state law,” Duffy and the other U.S. Attorneys have indiscriminately targeted these facilities, regardless of “conformity,” shutting down all but a few in San Diego County. Most recently Duffy attempted to shut down the only collective in her district that is operating under a permit from the Sheriff’s department./p>
For many patients who cannot sustain the regular consumption of pharmaceutical medication, cannabis isn’t simply an alternative; it’s their only option. From reducing nausea and increasing appetite for people living with cancer or HIV/AIDS to stabilizing chronic pain, the vast majority of California’s medical cannabis patients rely on dispensaries. Advocates argue that by closing dispensaries, Duffy and other U.S. Attorneys are pushing thousands of patients into the illicit market and complicating the job of law enforcement.
“Today’s press releases may have been a hoax, but for the thousands of patients adversely impacted by Duffy’s attacks on medical cannabis, it’s no joke. The LGBT community fought hard to legalize HIV/AIDS medicine for their family and we carry on that tradition today” said Rachel Scoma, from Canvass for a Cause. “Patients need safe and legal access to their medication, not prosecution from the federal government.”