Defiant Santa Cruz Distributes Medical Marijuana

Santa Cruz citizens tell the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to get the “Drug War” out of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM).

Tuesday, September 17, 2002 — “Citizenship Day” — 3:00 p.m.

The energy radiating from the Santa Cruz City Hall could be felt from far away. Hundreds of people came together to express their support for the medicinal use of cannabis and the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in particular. Santa Cruz residents, including physicians, politicians, and caregivers, addressed today’s crowd in strong support of WAMM and the rights of California voters who passed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

On Thursday, September 5, 2002, WAMM’s secluded medical marijuana garden in northern Santa Cruz County was raided and destroyed by the DEA. Valerie and Mike Corral, founders of the WAMM collective, were arrested and all the plants were ripped out weeks before they were to be harvested for the ill.

In response to the DEA’s raid of WAMM’s garden, the WAMM collective moved their weekly Tuesday meeting to the patio of Santa Cruz City Hall. Supporters of WAMM, as well as local and national media, swarmed to city hall to witness the historic distribution of medical cannabis with the blessings of local officials and in defiance of federal laws.

A rally co-sponsored by WAMM in support of the medicinal use of cannabis, which had already been scheduled in Sacramento on September 23, gained momentum and further indignation from the WAMM raid. A flyer read as follows:

Rise Up for Medical Marijuana!

Come to Sacramento – Monday, September 23
Demand Bush Pardon Bryan Epis & End War on all MMJ Patients

All medical marijuana patients, supporters, organizers, and activists in California are needed for what is shaping up to be a major medical marijuana mobilization to Sacramento on the 23rd!

Starting with a press conference and rally outside the Epis sentencing hearing at the Federal Building, 501 I st. at 9 am, moving to a demo at the south side of the Capitol at noon, and later a civil disobedience action somewhere, there is a watershed event in the works for MMJ! ASA, AAMC, AMMA, CANORML, WAMM, MMPU and others are co-sponsoring, and we are looking for every MMJ & drug policy organization in CA to endorse.

Since the WAMM raid, more people from all over the state are mobilizing for Sacramento, and buses are coming from Santa Cruz, LA, San Diego, Orange County, Humboldt and the Bay Area. Our target is to bring at least 100 people from every MMJ hub in California. We are trying to arrange housing for those from afar who need it.

News Alerts

  • State Attorney General Bill Lockyer Calls for Meeting with Federal Authorities About Unprecedented Medical Marijuana Raids
  • Santa Cruz County supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday condemning the federal governments raid of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana garden.

You Can Help

  • WAMM needs financial help to cover the legal battle.
  • California residents are urged to send a pre-written letter to their California Senators and Representative calling on Congress to denounce the DEA’s recent actions in California.
  • Send a comment to WAMM

Join your voice with these Community Leaders

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer:

This is targeting people who consistent with California voters direction are trying to provide medicine to people that are terminally ill and in need of help. For the federal government to step on that it just strikes me that they’re a bunch of big bullies. The DEA under the Bush administration has made it perfectly clear that they don’t care about the will of California voters, who think medical marijuana should be available for people whose doctors believe they would benefit from it.

Santa Cruz County Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt called the DEA’s actions absolutely appalling and praised WAMM as an extremely responsible collective:

They have operated in a way that has been exemplary. It is not reassuring to me to know that federal agents, instead of concentrating on issues of national security, are running around the mountains of Santa Cruz County disrupting the work of people who provide a valuable medical resource to the community.

U.S. Representative Sam Farr:

With all the difficult problems the world faces, I find it hard to believe the DEA should further punish sick people, most of whom are terminally ill, by arresting them and carting them off to jail … This is truly outrageous.

Santa Cruz City Attorney John Barisone:

The thought is, do they want to come and confront a 70-year-old woman in a wheelchair?” He said. “The comments that council members are getting from people on the street are along the line of, ‘With all of the things the DEA is responsible for, how did this get to No. 1 on the ‘to-do list?’

Santa Cruz Mayor Christopher Krohn:

We want to call attention to this issue. There was an injustice here being done, and I think it’s incumbent of the elected representatives to stand up for their constituents and make a statement.

Vice Mayor of Santa Cruz, Emily Reilly:

It is just absolutely loathsome to me that federal money, energy and staff time would be used to harass people like this.

Santa Cruz City Councilman Mark Primack:

We are expressing what we feel to be the entire community’s outrage and our support for those who are struggling to make this program work.

Deputy Kim Allyn of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department said the DEA never told his department about the raid. Deputies went there after the fact only to keep the peace between protesters and DEA agents, he said: “Our concern is to make sure nobody gets hurt.”

The department has a marijuana enforcement team targeting illegal trafficking, Allyn said, but meets regularly with the Corrals and had deemed WAMM in compliance with — and protected by — state law.

See Also:

Medical Marijuana Activists Decry Raids by Drug Endowment Agency

Crossposted at Santa Cruz Indymedia and Indybay.org.

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.