Grow Love

Thursday, July 13, 2006

WAMM update

WAMM update, garage sale and BBQ 7/22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Friday, July 7, 2006

New filings in Santa Cruz v. Gonzales case, filing motions against San Diego County for not acknowledging Proposition 215 (Compassionate Use Act), and WAMM garage sale!

CONTACT: Ritika Aggarwal,
(831)425-0580 (office), (831)425-0582 (fax), (831)423-5413 (voicemail)

Last Friday, June 30th, the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) with the city and county of Santa Cruz presented oral arguments in a constitutional challenge to the federal government’s prohibition of medical marijuana. The case, County of Santa Cruz v. Gonzales, represents the first significant challenge to the federal government’s prohibition of medical marijuana since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Raich.

Attorneys Gerald Uelman, the San Francisco law firm of Bingham McCutchen, Drug Policy Alliance, Ben Rice, and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that the federal government has unconstitutionally attempted to sabotage California’s ability to chart its own legislative course by selectively utilizing arrests, prosecutions and other means to thwart the state’s medical marijuana laws.

In San Diego, the ACLU, American’s for Safe Access, and Drug Policy Alliance moved today to intervene in a lawsuit brought by several CA counties that seeks to overturn the state’s Compassionate Use Act, passed in 1996.

This lawsuit comes one day after a series of raids of medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego, a county that has chosen to involve the DEA in their actions and disregard the legality of medical marijuana within CA.

Valerie Corral, co-founder and director of WAMM states that “significant harm is caused both to our legal system and to seriously ill people when a city arbitrarily chooses to defy the law.”

The lawsuit, initially brought by San Diego County and later joined by San Bernadino and Merced counties, challenges state laws that permit patients to use, and doctors to recommend medical marijuana under the explicit protection of state law. The lawsuit further challenges the state’s Medical Marijuana Program Act, which calls for the implementation of an identification card program that would allow police to identity legitimate medical marijuana patients in a database.

Although the California Attorney General’s plans to defend the state’s medical marijuana statutes from the counties’ challenge, several groups are intervening in an order to assure adequate representation of those most impacted by the counties’ legal challenge: medical marijuana patients, their caregivers, and doctors.

WAMM is represented by these groups as well, and is a medical marijuana collective in Santa Cruz, California, whose 200 members, a majority of whom are terminally ill, work together with their caregivers to provide free medicine for a variety of conditions to members in the collective. In addition to entering the case, the groups are seeking a court order that would compel the counties to abide by and implement California’s medical marijuana laws. The groups are also asking the court to affirm that the state’s medical marijuana laws are not preempted by contrary federal statutes.

Despite these challenges, WAMM will continue to operate, although desperately needing funding. On July 22, from 10-4pm, WAMM will be hosting a garage sale with BBQ and live music at 815 Almar Street to raise money for its members in need.


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