interesting..! AP World Politics City leaders help in marijuana giveaway at City Hall in Santa Cruz, California Tue Sep 17, 9:19 PM ET By MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer SANTA CRUZ, California - Calling Santa Cruz a sanctuary from federal authorities, medical marijuana advocates — joined by city leaders — passed out pot to about a dozen sick people at City Hall. "Santa Cruz is a special place, and today we're letting the world know how compassionate we can be," Mayor Christopher Krohn said Tuesday. "We're taking a stand." More than 1,000 community members jammed into the garden-like courtyard for a supportive demonstration during the giveaway. Some held signs reading, "DEA Go Away" and "U.S. Out Of Santa Cruz." Several people in the crowd lit marijuana cigarettes, but it was mostly an alcohol and drug-free gathering, which was what organizers requested. Marijuana is illegal as a medicine or as a recreational drug under federal law. But state law, and county and city ordinances, say it's legal if recommended by a doctor. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Richard Meyer said he was appalled by Tuesday's event, and feared the community is sending a dangerous message to its children. "Marijuana is an illegal drug in this country," he said. But Mike Corral, who helped distribute the marijuana, said the only message sent was that "marijuana is medicine." In Santa Cruz and many California communities, local law enforcement works closely with growers and distributors who help sick people obtain marijuana. Krohn and his colleagues didn't handle the marijuana Tuesday, but stood in solidarity with the clinic workers and users. Police Chief Steve Belcher said his officers didn't plan to arrest registered, legitimate members picking up their medicine. However, he said, "This is not going to be a smoke-out at City Hall." People who showed up to smoke marijuana without a doctor's recommendation could face arrest, he said. The City Hall pot distribution comes less than two weeks after DEA agents arrested the owners of a local pot farm and confiscated 130 plants that had been grown for use as medicine. Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington also allow marijuana to be grown and distributed to people with a doctor's prescription.