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Marijuana Policy Project Article

Santa Cruz Defies Bush Administration on Medical Marijuana


SEPTEMBER 11, 2002

Santa Cruz Defies Bush Administration on Medical Marijuana

City Hall Courtyard Will Be Medical Marijuana Dispensary
for Victims of DEA Raid

SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA -- In an historic act of civil disobedience, members
of the Santa Cruz City Council have invited the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical
Marijuana (WAMM), raided last week by the Drug Enforcement Administration,
to distribute medical marijuana to patients in the City Hall courtyard on
Sept. 17. During the action, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PDT,
members of the council will stand with WAMM members in an act of solidarity.
This dramatic event, which WAMM lawyer Ben Rice calls "our Boston Tea
Party," comes in the midst of a national wave of outrage at the DEA's
latest raids, including new calls for Congressional action.

     WAMM, a cooperative run by and for patients
(most with terminal diagnoses), worked closely with local authorities, strictly
followed California law and local guidelines, and never sold marijuana to
anyone. Nevertheless, armed DEA agents swooped down on the co-op Sept. 5,
pointed automatic weapons at paralyzed patients, tore up WAMM's garden,
and carted off operators Valerie and Mike Corral in handcuffs.

     The raid -- the latest in a series of DEA
raids targeting small-scale medical marijuana operations run by seriously
ill people -- has triggered shock and anger nationwide. U.S. Rep. Sam
Farr (D-CA), in whose district WAMM is located, called the DEA's action
"truly outrageous." Syndicated columnist Clarence Page denounced
the raid in a Sept. 8 Chicago Tribune column that was quickly
seconded by editorials in the Seattle Times, San Jose Mercury
and even the conservative Orange County Register.

     The Register's Sept. 9 editorial
noted that WAMM "was probably the `cleanest' of all operations in California"
and called the raid "an unwarranted and extreme operation against sick
people. ... Such cruel raids suggest that a law that can be used to
terrorize sick people is in need of reconsideration."

     The raid has energized efforts to change
the law. In addition to Santa Cruz's unprecedented act of civil disobedience,
U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) has committed to introducing
an amendment to the Justice Department's appropriations bill barring the
DEA from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries operating in accord with
state and local law. Rep. Farr and House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi
(D-CA) have already indicated their support. Separately, U.S. Reps. William
Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Mike Honda (D-CA) have newly signed on as cosponsors
of H.R. 2592, the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, another
proposal to end the DEA's attacks on medical marijuana. Protests planned
for September 22 and 23 in Sacramento, California, and Washington,
D.C., are expected to draw hundreds of medical marijuana patients and their

     "The DEA has gone too far with these
cruel and utterly pointless actions," said Robert Kampia, executive
director of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project. "The
courage of the Santa Cruz City Council and the growing anger in Congress
are signs of a genuine grassroots rebellion all across this country that
will put an end to these attacks on the sick and vulnerable."

     The Marijuana Policy Project works to minimize
the harm associated with marijuana -- both the consumption of marijuana
and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. In association with
Students for Sensible Drug Policy, MPP will hold its first national conference
on November 8-10 in Anaheim, California.


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hell yeah!

I heard WAMM was doing it, but I didnt catch that the council was actually participating! Hell yeah.

Of course, this will also help council members to draw attention from the downtown ordinance flack. Wonder what will happen quietly while the media pundits are all talking about WAMM. How much of this is sincere, and how much of is it just to score brownie points. The press will certainly engage in some short term hero worship of city council now.

DEA says "Are you serious? That's illegal."

DEA spokesman Richard Meyer said Wednesday he was surprised by the cityís plan.

"Are you serious? Thatís illegal. Itís like theyíre flaunting federal law," he said. "Iím shocked that city leaders would promote the use of marijuana that way. What is that saying to our youth?"

if you will it, dude, it is no dream.

hey! maybe our hackey-sack banning homeless-hating city council ain't so bad after all! is emily's bakery going to start selling pot brownies?


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