Event Highlights from Hastings College Medical Marijuana Panel Discussion

San Francisco, CA – On Tuesday, April 8, 2009 a panel discussion on the topic of medical marijuana, organized by the Hastings Democrats, was held at UC Hastings College of the Law. The Cannabis Club Network was in attendance and is providing the medical marijuana community with exclusive footage of this important debate. There was a large turnout to hear the panel which featured United States Attorney for the Northern District of California Joseph Russoniello and Chief Counsel for Americans for Safe Access, Joe Elford, the event was moderated by Rory Little, Professor of Law.

After a lively introduction by Professor Little, the panelists were allowed to introduced themselves. Joe Russoniello began and spoke about his education and early professional background in law enforcement. Mr Russoniello is serving his second, nonconsecutive appointment to the position of United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, first appointed in 1982 by Ronald Reagan, and again by Gorge W. Bush in 2007. In a very cliché way, he mentioned that he was a Democrat prior to becoming a Republican. Next, Joe Elford spoke about himself. Mr. Elford graduated from Yale Law School in 1996 and worked as a clerk for the Honorable Vaughn R. Walker—who questions the value of the War on Drugs.

Mr. Russoniello clung tightly to his anachronistic, Nixon-era views of marijuana as addictive and promoting anti-social behavior, using the more than thirty year old findings of Dr. Henry Brill to support his argument. Mr. Russoniello seems all to willing to make the assumption that most cannabis clubs and growers in operation today are illegal, for-profit operations, and would apparently have no qualms about prosecuting any such case put before him. He seemed rather dismissive of the idea of cannabis as medicine, in spite of not having a medical degree.

Mr. Elford countered Mr Russoniello’s claims of marijuana’s harmfulness by citing the Nixon-appointed Shafer Commission’s findings (abstract here) which appears to support the idea of personal use. After some disagreement about the conclusions of the Shafer Commission, the discussion of medical marijuana, as it is often wont to do, turned towards marijuana decriminalization.

Eventually the floor was open to questions from the audience. Of the few questions which were fielded, several people attempted to take Mr. Russoniello to task for his views. But unfortunately, due to time constraints, the Q&A; period ended almost as soon as it began.

Watch the videos, form your own opinion, and GET ACTIVE!

Medical Marijuana Panel Discussion At Hastings Law School

By Americans for Safe Access
Published April 8, 2019

Joseph Russoniello, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, and Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, will be debating medical marijuana issues this Wednesday at a panel being hosted at UCSF Hastings College of Law. This panel, which is being moderated by Hastings Law professor Rory Little, is especially relevant given the Obama Administration’s repeated statements about suspending further federal enforcement action in California and other medical marijuana states.

This will be a great opportunity to hear directly from the U.S. attorney what his intentions are regarding the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in California,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford. Despite promises made by the Obama Administration to end federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has conducted several such raids since President Obama was elected, the most recent of which was in San Francisco on March 25, 2009. As with many DEA raids conducted under the Bush Administration, medical marijuana and other property was seized in the San Francisco raid, but no indictments were made. Evidence from that raid, and the reason for it, has been sealed from public disclosure.

U.S. Attorney Russoniello, a G.W. Bush appointee and co-founder of the state-federal Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), heads the federal office that would prosecute any indictments from the recent DEA raid. Russoniello previously served as a U.S. Attorney under President Reagan and has long been considered a hard-line drug warrior.

*Further information:*
U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello:

Statements made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on ending DEA raids:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Time: 12:00 PM
Address: UC Hastings College of the Law get directions
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

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