Speaker Pelosi, Please Open the Hearings

As medical cannabis advocates the single most important action we can take
right now is to write a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to open
congressional hearings on medical cannabis immediately. An equally
important action to take is to contact our individual members of congress
and ask him/her to support opening hearings on medical cannabis
immediately. It’s the one-two punch that every advocate across the
country must take to legalize medical marijuana and end DEA interference
in our lives.

Although it takes everyone – not everyone is experienced or comfortable
with writing to congress. Advocates are in the field across Southern
California educating patients and caregivers on effective letter writing
techniques, conducting letter writing workshops and getting these requests
in the mail and into the halls of congress.

Our letters can put an end to the body count and get patients out of
harm’s way. Please contact the Patient Advocacy Network to learn about
letter writing workshops and campaigns. Below is the contact address for
Speaker Pelosi and a sample letter. Please, take the time to write your
letter today. Encourage everyone else you know to write their letter
tomorrow. Power in words. Strength in numbers.

Be Safe –

Degé

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
450 Golden Gate Avenue, 14th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102-3661

January 24, 2007

Dear Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi,

I write to ask that you urge Congress to open hearings on medical
cannabis. I am a medical cannabis patient with 19 years experience in
education and social work. Never have I witnessed a more vulnerable
population of people in our country than ill, indigent Americans who use
medical cannabis to relieve their pain and suffering. I provide court
advocacy for these patients regularly.

I moved to California a little over four years ago not because I thought
I’d have a lucrative career in social work but because I hoped to have
safe and consistent access to medical cannabis. Buying this beneficial
herb off the streets was dangerous and tedious. Like so many others,
pharmaceuticals have not worked well for me.

California State law has been a blessing. However, patients are still in
the crosshairs of the federal government despite the fact the 80% of
voting Americans do not think people who use cannabis with a physician’s
approval should be handled criminally. There are over 6,500 journal
articles and other research papers demonstrating the medical efficacy of
cannabis. Congress needs to hear these issues.

As you may know on January 4, 2007, a 60-year old, disabled woman was
remanded to start a 41-month prison sentence while out on appeal. You may
be familiar with the case of US v. Stephanie Landa. She and others were
provided guidelines from the city of San Francisco for researching and
cultivating medical cannabis for the city’s dispensaries. A
cross-deputized officer reported the garden to US District Attorney George
Bevin. Although never arrested nor tried locally, Stephanie is doing over
three years on federal charges for an agreement she had with the city of
San Francisco – the garden was intentionally located around the corner
from the police station.

The current federal legal status of “marihuana” is not based on medical
science. Law enforcement have been given the authority of providing the
statistics regarding cannabis, educating our children about the drug,
providing significant input on laws, ordinances and regulations for
cannabis since 1937, demonstrating that this is a political issue and not
a health issue as it should be.

I ask you please, as our Speaker of the House, to urge Congress to take a
long, serious look at this issue allowing voters to make reasonable health
choices without the fear of sleeping on the floor of a holding cell in
county jail for weeks while waiting to be transferred as is Stephanie’s
situation. If the government will take out an outspoken middle-aged,
disabled woman, who had permission from her local authorities to grow
medical cannabis, then the feds will take out all patients and
patient-cultivators in our sanctuary cities and elsewhere. Your voice is
so desperately needed. I can and will provide you with all the back-up
voices you need.

Sincerely,

Degé Coutee

President, Education Director

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