Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana

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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.[1] WAMM is the first medical marijuana collective to receive non-profit status from the United States Government.[2]

Early days[edit]

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.

Members[edit]

According to WAMM, most members have either a terminal or serious illness.[3] Between the years 1993 and 2010, 223 members of WAMM died. In 2009, WAMM director Valerie Corral stated that the collective had about 2 dozen minors as members.

DEA raid[edit]

WAMM was raided by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on September 5, 2002. 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.[4][5]

Support from City of Santa Cruz[edit]

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.[6][7][8] 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[edit]

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."[9]

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.

Reactions[edit]

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."[10] Drug Policy Alliance director Ethan Nadelmann also likened Corral to Mother Teresa.

Driving fatality[edit]

A WAMM volunteer caused a fatal accident after leaving a WAMM site in 2010.[11][12] The woman whose car he hit died at the scene, and her baby was injured but survived. The volunteer, an artist who had started a support group for WAMM members with chronic pain, died the next day. Police reported that he said, at the scene of the accident, that he had used marijuana "just prior to the collision".[11] Family members said that it was impossible to be certain of the collision's cause, because the volunteer's vehicle had some mechanical problems and he had several health problems, such as sleep apnea, that could have caused or contributed to it.[11]

Future[edit]

WAMM's farm is located on property owned jointly by the Corrals. They divorced in 2015.[3] Valerie Corral needed to raise money to buy out her ex-husband's share in the land.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Luker, Kelly, Metro, 3-14-'02 The Secret Garden
  2. ^ Nieves, Evelyn, Mother Jones, Jan/Feb ’01 Half an Ounce of Healing
  3. ^ a b c Kava, Brad (13 May 2015). "The End of WAMM?". Good Times. 
  4. ^ Santa Cruz Sentinel, 9-11’02, County, City Condemn DEA Marijuana Raid
  5. ^ Lypps, Heidi, CounterPunch, 9-17-‘02 The Crackdown on Medical Marijuana
  6. ^ Ritter, John, USA Today Pot raid angers state, patients
  7. ^ LeDuff, Charlie, Liptak, Adam, New York Times, 9-18-'02 Defiant California City Hands Out Marijuana
  8. ^ Krohn, Christopher, New York Times, 9-21-'02 Why I'm Fighting Federal Drug Laws From City Hall
  9. ^ American Civil Liberties Union, 8-20-‘08 Federal Court Rules US Government May Not Deliberately Subvert California’s Medical Marijuana Laws
  10. ^ de Vries, Lloyd, CBS News, 5-24-‘04 Not Your Average Pot Proponent
  11. ^ a b c Baxter, Stephen (28 October 2010). "Brother of driver in Hwy. 1 crash near Davenport says Stephen Sibley had numerous health issues". The Santa Cruz Sentinel. 
  12. ^ Baxter, Stephen (5 April 2011). "Driver in fatal head-on crash near Davenport had marijuana in system". The San Jose Mercury-News. 

External links[edit]