Inland medical marijuana activists head to Sacramento to advocate for legalization

Local medical marijuana activists took a bus from Upland to Sacramento via Riverside on Friday to attend a unity conference and meet state legislators. “I need it,” said Chuck Neault Sr., 67, of Chino, before the bus picked him and others up in the parking lot of G3 Holistic Inc. in Upland. Neault, who uses a wheelchair or a cane to travel, said he has a medical marijuana prescription for multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and more. Activists including Neault left Upland late Friday morning to go to the THCF Patient Center in Riverside and then to Sacramento on Friday night. “I just wanted to go up and support the cause,” said James Johnson, 23, of Ontario, who has a medical marijuana card to help with his seizures and insomnia. Johnson added he had surgical hinges, or plates, in his head. “(Medical marijuana) makes it easy for a low-income person like me with no insurance” to get relief instead of costly drugs. “I can smoke a joint and be fine,” he said. There are about 45 medical marijuana patients on the bus, said G3 president Aaron Sandusky, who plans to join the group today. G3 has cooperatives in Colton and Moreno Valley that were closed after being raided in November. Sandusky said there were buses leaving Long Beach, West Hollywood, Berkeley, San Francisco and Santa Ana for Sacramento. Jenny Ekizian, coordinator for the Californians for Local and Safe Alternatives, said she helped organize the Upland to Sacramento bus trip after finding a lack of area participation. “What we found is that there’s a lot of organizations in California to help try to defend the medical marijuana community, but the Inland Empire for the most part is neglected,” Ekizian said, except for Palm Springs activist Lanny Swerdlow and the Palm Springs-based Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, or MAPP.

“We want to get everybody on the same page and get our voices heard.” Swerdlow, Sandusky said, would host his radio show live from the bus at 6 p.m. Monday on radio station KCAA-1050 AM or kcaaradio.com. Ekizian, who grew up in Upland but lives in Oceanside, said there were eight collectives representing the Inland Empire. She said the patients on the bus are from Palm Springs, Riverside and High Desert areas, able to attend the trip with the help of 50 collectives paying for them. The inland group will attend today and Sunday the Californians to Regulate Medical Marijuana-sponsored California Unity Conference in Sacramento. This conference will include collectives, organized labor, advocates and others to provide strategy sessions and training. On Monday, the activists will rally in front of the state Capitol with attendees visiting legislative offices as part of a lobby day. Dan Forman, a budtender at G3 Holistic in Upland and medical marijuana patient, said the conference was important to learn skills and tactics to lobby state legislators. “Most people who want to partake (in activism) don’t know how to,” said Forman. Patient Christopher Kenner, who has had pancreatitis for more than 30 years and been on disability for more than 10 years, made it clear why he is going to Sacramento. “We want to let our state lawmakers know we want them to stop the raids on California,” Kenner said, in reference to federal government raids on medical marijuana collectives like G3 Holistic, where he is a member. “We don’t need the federal government in here causing more problems. I want to ask our state Assembly people what they’re doing to protect us … So I want to ask them if they’re going to protect us and how.”

via : Redlands Daily Facts

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