Seattle Protesters Picket After Sweeping DEA Raids on Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries

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Under a frigid winter fall drizzle, some 30 demonstrators are gathered right now at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle, protesting yesterday's multiple DEA raids on medical-marijuana providers around the Puget Sound area.

Holding signs with messages like "Obama: Safe Access Now" and "No Prison For Pot" the group of picketers showed their anger at what they think is a blatant overstepping of the federal government's power and a horrendous waste of resources.

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Curtis Cartier/Seattle Weekly
Cannabis Defense Coalition member Ben Livingston makes a sign
"We are here to bear witness and let people know that the federal government executed raids against over a dozen medical cannabis access points," says Ben Livingston, a member of the Cannabis Defense Coalition. "Medical cannabis works. It's good medicine. The policy of raiding access points is not good medicine. It's a poor use of of our limited law-enforcement resources. We can't afford it both fiscally and in terms of our well being."

Other protestors like Rachel Kurtz say that the federal government is treating sick people like criminals.

"A lot of people including myself use cannabis as an herbal medicine," Kurtz says. "But they treat us like criminals. Don't they have better things to do?"

Blame for the raids was widespread according to the protesters, with the lion's share of it going to the Department of Justice and President Obama.

State leaders don't escape the ire of the protesters either, however, and several pointed at the veto of the marijuana-reform bill SB 5073 as one of the main reasons there is such confusion among cannabis patients and providers as to what is and isn't legal.

The picketers say they'll keep letting their voices be heard.

Judging by the tone of the statements from the DEA, however, raids such as the ones they are protesting may become more frequent, not less.

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