January #78 : Ashcroft Goes to Pot - by Stacie Stukin

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues

Table of Contents

Generation Next

2002 For Beginners

The Rainy Season

Ashcroft Goes to Pot

Statistical Significance

China Syndrome

Qatar Players

The Rights Stuff

Suicide Bomb

Con Condoms

Sex Pistols

Say What?

Female Trouble I

Female Trouble II

Newbie Trap

Feds Nix Lipo Fix

Who's Sore-y Now?

E & Thee

Tranny Pan

Dot the Eyes

Life in Wartime

Accidental Czar


Torch Song

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

January 2002

Ashcroft Goes to Pot

by Stacie Stukin

On October 25, 30 Drug Enforcement Agency troops stormed the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center (LACRC) in West Hollywood, California. With a warrant signed by Attorney General John Ashcroft in hand, the agents frisked eight medical-marijuana patients who worked at the center and spent nearly five hours loading two trucks with more than 400 marijuana plants, hydroponic growing equipment, computers -- and the medical records of the 960 LACRC members, 80 percent of whom are HIVers. "They were as polite as rapists could be," said club prez Scott Imler.

Carried out amidst a nationwide anthrax panic, the raid stunned advocates. "Because everyone was so busy saluting, no one was looking." Imler said. "We were an easy target in the so-called War on Drugs. We were operating out in the open, and [Ashcroft] probably figured, 'Who would care about a bunch of homos with AIDS in West Hollywood?'" What's more, the feds froze the club's assets. While there were no arrests at press time, Imler and his lawyer, West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran, said that criminal charges are imminent.

Imler also reports having received frantic phone calls from cancer and AIDS patients who are having difficulty sleeping, eating, keeping their meds down and their weight up. PWA and LACRC volunteer Steven Salveta lamented that he has lost a trustworthy source of the medicine. "I know the marijuana I get here is free of fungus and pesticides, and that's the most important thing. Those are things my system does not need." And HIVer Mike Mendizabal said, "The thought of going on the street to get marijuana is too much for me. I now have to force myself to eat."

LACRC would have celebrated its fifth anniversary last November. The club has been a model dispenser of pot for pain: Not only has LACRC strictly adhered to the guidelines outlined in California's voter-mandated medical-marijuana Proposition 215, it has also operated with the blessing of the city council and sheriff's department.

Attorney General Ashcroft, apparently emboldened by his high-profile role in the "War on Terrorism," has increasingly promoted a radical-right domestic agenda. Last May's Supreme Court decision in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative that distribution of marijuana still constitutes a federal crime also influenced his cannabis crackdown. In the weeks leading up to the LACRC raid, the feds closed down a marijuana farm run by patients and seized files from a doctor and a lawyer who help sick patients gain access to the herb. But the highest court has yet to address the conflict between state and federal law. "I doubt we'll ever be able to grow marijuana again in this building," Imler said. "Now we have go back to fighting the political battles instead of caring for our patients."

[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Did you participate in an event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.