Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) is a non-profit medicinal cannabis dispensing collective located in Santa Cruz, California. WAMM was founded in 1993 by Valerie Leveroni Corral and her then husband Michael Corral. Members receive medicinal cannabis in exchange for volunteer work. There is no charge for members who are too ill to work. WAMM is the first medical marijuana collective to receive non-profit status from the United States Government.
WAMM’s farm was purchased with $40,000 that Valerie Corral received as a settlement for an automobile accident that left her epileptic. The Corrals were raided by local police in 1992 and 1993, but all charges were subsequently dismissed.
WAMM was raided by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on September 5, 2002. Approximately 150 cannabis plants were destroyed. During the raid, polio patient Suzanne Pfeil was handcuffed behind her back after explaining to officers that she could not get out of bed due to her medical condition. The raid was condemned by many high profile individuals, including then-California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Emily Rielly, former Vice Mayor of Santa Cruz, and all members of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors that were serving at the time.
Support from City of Santa Cruz
The City of Santa Cruz has been explicitly supportive of WAMM and its activities. Following the 2002 raid, WAMM was permitted to dispense medicinal cannabis to its members on the steps of City Hall. In 2003, in solidarity with the collective, the City of Santa Cruz sued the federal government for raiding WAMM. The case is called Santa Cruz v. Mukasey.
Judge Fogel’s Rulings
In 2004, Federal Judge Jeremy Fogel denied the government’s motion to dismiss the Plaintiff’s (WAMM’s) complaint. This ruling allowed WAMM to continue cultivating medicinal cannabis while the lawsuit was pending. In 2008, Judge Fogel ruled in favor of WAMM in Santa Cruz v. Mukasey. Fogel used reasoning from the earlier Conant v. Walters case to partially guide his decision. The Conant decision stated, "Applied to our situation, this means that, much as the federal government may prefer that California keep medical marijuana illegal, it cannot force the state to do so."
Speaking with CBS News, A WAMM attorney, Gerald Uleman stated that "Representing Valerie Corral, for me, is like representing Mother Teresa," and he called her "one of the most compassionate people I've ever met." Drug Policy Alliance director Ethan Nadelmann also likened Corral to Mother Teresa.
In January, 2010, WAMM dismissed their lawsuit against the federal government. WAMM counsel Allen Hopper cited a 2009 policy change in the Obama Administration that gave the Justice Department more discretion with regard to medical marijuana busts.
Between the years 1993 and 2010, 223 members of WAMM died.
- Luker, Kelly, Metro, 3-14-'02 The Secret Garden
- Nieves, Evelyn, Mother Jones, Jan/Feb ’01 Half an Ounce of Healing
- Pfeil, Suzanne, 11-17-’04 Congressional Record, United States Senate
- Santa Cruz Sentinel, 9-11’02, County, City Condemn DEA Marijuana Raid
- Lypps, Heidi, CounterPunch, 9-17-‘02 The Crackdown on Medical Marijuana
- Ritter, John, USA Today Pot raid angers state, patients
- LeDuff, Charlie, Liptak, Adam, New York Times, 9-18-'02 Defiant California City Hands Out Marijuana
- Krohn, Christopher, New York Times, 9-21-'02 Why I'm Fighting Federal Drug Laws From City Hall
- American Civil Liberties Union, 8-20-‘08 Federal Court Rules US Government May Not Deliberately Subvert California’s Medical Marijuana Laws
- de Vries, Lloyd, CBS News, 5-24-‘04 Not Your Average Pot Proponent
- Ellison, Katherine, New York Times, 11-21-’09 Medical Marijuana: No Longer Just for Adults
- Oregon NORML, 1-22-'10 Settlement reached in County of Santa Cruz v. Holder
- Hecht, Peter, Sacramento Bee, 8-13-‘10 medical marijuana pioneer protests cash cow pot shops