Medical Pot Parade To Put Festive Face on Battle

  Medical Pot Parade To Put Festive Face on Battle

Posted by CN Staff on July 15, 2005 at 07:53:21 PT
By Brian Seals, Staff Writer 
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel 

Santa Cruz -- Organizers of a medical marijuana march planned Saturday in downtown Santa Cruz promise a bit of festivity and a bit of reverence for their deceased colleagues. And, they hope to make a social and political statement.But as members and friends of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana wage a public-relations battle, attorneys continue to craft a legal war strategy behind the public limelight.
Far from going into seclusion in the aftermath of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling June 6 that dealt state medical pot laws a setback, WAMM is continuing a very public battle."Our hope is we can turn out thousands of people" for the parade, WAMM co-founder Valerie Corral said from the group’s Westside office. "We want to demonstrate to the federal government the people of this community support medical marijuana."About 150 members of the cooperative plan to march through downtown starting at noon Saturday, with participants toting about 25 live marijuana plants.Corral said she wants to show the compassionate side of the issue."We want to assist each other," Corral said. "This is America at its best, people helping people."Medical marijuana users say they need the drug for a variety of ills, such as relieving pain without side effects of other drugs, or increasing an appetite depressed by pharmaceuticals.But federal drug-policy officials say no statement needs to be made. The federal Office of Drug Control Policy considers pot the same as other illicit drugs, a stance only reinforced by this summer’s Supreme Court ruling.The ruling does not overturn laws in California and 10 other states that allow medical use of marijuana, but those who use marijuana as a medical treatment risk legal action by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or other federal agencies."Marijuana is a serious drug of abuse," said spokesman Tom Riley from Washington, D.C. "It is a more dangerous drug than many people realize."Riley said medical marijuana advocates are seeking to make medical policy out of popular opinion, rather than science and government approval that rules the use of other pharmaceutical drugs. Moreover, he said, while some people are using pot to relieve genuine suffering, medical pot policies are being abused by people seeking wholesale legalization. While WAMM members plan parade logistics, attorneys working with the group are plotting courtroom strategy.The Supreme Court ruling gutted some of the group’s legal basis for continuing its work unfettered, but WAMM has more legal ammo, said Santa Cruz attorney Ben Rice.The ruling overturned a 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision in 2003 that allowed medical marijuana use as long as no money changed hands and the marijuana crossed no state lines. That case brought a states’ rights versus federal rights aspect to the issue.The Raich case, brought by two Northern California women, Angel Raich and Diane Monson, challenged the constitutionality of the federal government’s ban on personal use and cultivation of marijuana for medicine under California law. Similarly, WAMM’s case centered on the interstate commerce clause of the constitution. While the appeals court ruling was in place, WAMM secured an injunction protecting its marijuana gardens from future raids by federal agencies, as occurred in September 2002. But the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in the Raich case settled that aspect.However, WAMM plans to argue in U.S. District Court another component of its case: Its rights are being violated under "due process" provisions of the U.S. Constitution, Rice said.The approach will center on the concept of "substantive" due process in the U.S. Constitution, he said. That pertains to rights that aren’t set forth explicitly in the Constitution, such as alleviating pain. Using marijuana to save one’s life or help one live it more fully would fall under that concept, WAMM lawyers would argue."We think we have a winning argument that an attempt to stop access to marijuana is an infringement on a constitutional substantive due process right to ameliorate pain," Rice said.WAMM’s legal team includes Rice, a defense lawyer, Santa Clara University law professor Gerald Uelmen and lawyers from the San Francisco firm of Bingham McCutchen. The attorneys have been ordered by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to file a brief in U.S. District Court in San Jose by Aug. 2. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has a Sept. 2 deadline to respond, Rice said. As for this Saturday’s parade, WAMM still enjoys protections of an injunction granted in April 2004, though that will expire as a result of the Supreme Court ruling. WAMM, joined by the county and city of Santa Cruz, sued then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2003, seeking relief on behalf of terminally ill patients who are members of the cooperative.While it won the injunction in 2004, the case has been on hold while the Raich case was decided.Complete Title: Medical Pot Parade To Put Festive Face on Ongoing, Hard-Fought BattleRelated Article:Advocate Group Began With Wreck, Court CaseBrian Seals, Staff WriterSanta Cruz -- These days the Santa Cruz-based the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana is an icon of an organization in the world of medical pot.That wasn’t always the case.The group’s origins are linked to a couple of occurrences.Back in 1973 co-founder Valerie Corral was in a car accident that left her epileptic and prone to seizures. Years of traditional therapy only put her in a stupor.One day husband Mike, a WAMM co-founder, read an article in a medical journal about marijuana’s potential for relieving the type of seizures affecting Valerie.Within a few years, she had eschewed traditional pharmaceuticals in favor of marijuana as treatment.That set into motion the creation of WAMM, which predates California’s 1996 passage of Proposition 215, the ballot measure that allows medical marijuana use.In the early 1990s, the Corrals were busted by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and state agents on marijuana charges. Charges against Valerie Corral were later dropped on a medical-necessity defense.The seed was sown, so to speak, for a locally based movement. Like-minded people banded together to form the cooperative that allows sick folks to share marijuana with each other.Now, rather than persecution and prosecution by local authorities, the group goes about its core mission and, at times quite publicly, advocates for medical pot policies.WAMM worked with the county on its medical marijuana identification card program as well as on guidelines on how much pot a qualified patient may possess and grow, for example.Such community acceptance has not spread to the federal level, however. In September 2002, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided the cooperative’s Davenport garden, uprooting 167 plants and hauling the Corrals to jail.They have yet to be charged in connection with the raid, which brought condemnation from city and county officials as well as U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel.Weeks later, a horde of national media descended on Santa Cruz to watch WAMM host a medical pot giveaway to about a dozen cooperative members on the steps of Santa Cruz City Hall. The Santa Cruz City Council went so far as to deputize the Corrals that year.WAMM is now a party to two lawsuits. One aims to recover the pot that agents confiscated in 2002, a partly symbolic quest, as the stuff has likely lost potency by now.Another suit seeks to bar future enforcement actions by the federal government, a lawsuit to which the city and county of Santa Cruz have signed on as plaintiffs.March Planned Through Heart of S.C. -- Medical Marijuana MarchThe Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana march begins at noon Saturday at Pacific Avenue and Cathcart Street. It will proceed north to Church Street, and end at City Hall where a press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. Several streets will be closed to traffic 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Brian Seals, Staff WriterPublished: July 15, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:WAMM & News from WAMM Protest Pot Parade Set for July 16 Ruling Worries Santa Cruz Group Medical Pot Users Disheartened by Decision

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Comment #13 posted by jose melendez on July 17, 2005 at 02:59:30 PT
Meanwhile, in San Francisco . . . 
''There's nothing intrinsically wrong with allowing [pot clubs] to supply medicinal cannabis. In fact, just the opposite," Sandoval said. ''For the ill who need it, we should be making it easier and just as convenient for them to get it as it is to get drugs from a pharmacy."
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on July 16, 2005 at 22:46:26 PT
Related Article from The Associated Press
Potty About MarijuanaThe Associated PressJuly 17, 2005Hundreds of fired-up pot smokers and their supporters marched in Santa Cruz Saturday to protest the federal government's blows against medicinal marijuana.The rally was organized by the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana.The protesters, some in wheelchairs and hoisting pot plants, were joined by five of seven city council members and Santa Cruz County Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt.Wormhoudt urged the crowd to stand tough on medicinal marijuana despite the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision threatening continued use of the drug.The court ruled last month that federal drug laws making marijuana illegal take precedence over state laws allowing pot for medical reasons."We are fighting back," vowed Graham Boyd, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's national Drug Law Reform Project, which moved to Santa Cruz last summer.Earlier this month, California health officials suspended a program that issued medicinal marijuana users state-issued identification cards.State Health Director Sandra Shewry asked the state attorney general's office to review the Supreme Court ruling to determine whether the ID cards could put patients and state employees at risk of federal prosecution.Copyright: 2005 Associated Press
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on July 16, 2005 at 18:43:12 PT

For Those Interested
Bill Maher said Bob Dylan will be on Amazon's webcast next.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on July 16, 2005 at 15:00:59 PT

Friendly Reminder: Concert with Bob Dylan is pleased to invite you to help us celebrate our 10th anniversary with a concert featuring Bob Dylan and Norah Jones, as well as all-time customer-favorite authors and filmmakers. Starting at 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, July 16--the 10th anniversary of the day that first opened its virtual doors for business--the concert will be streamed live on the homepage. The event will be hosted by humorist Bill Maher and feature musical performances, author readings, and other presentations from some of our all-time top-selling artists.
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Comment #9 posted by global_warming on July 16, 2005 at 13:07:49 PT

Submitting Link
15-7-2005 - Marijuana Doesn't Kill: Stupid Laws DoI found a link to a site on a message board about a medicinal marijuana group in Santa Barbara, HortiPharm, and was shaking my head, wondering why a place like this didn't exist when I lived near there. Link. I was told by doctors I'd have to score on my own. As I was pouring over the site, reading testimonials and viewing pictures of this luxurious place -- it is Santa Barbara -- I wouldn't expect anything but the best, I began reading news items on the left side, and I became very sad.  Medical Marijuana Activist Steve McWilliams commits suicide under threat of jail time. Where is the compassion? There will be a memorial service for the public Tuesday, July 19th Noon Civic Center Concourse Plaza 3 rd and B Street, Downtown San Diego 202 C. Street There was a link to another site which had the story, NBC San Diego link. Steve Mc Williams' friends speculate it was because he was scared witless of jail. He spoke of fears of not being able to survive there. He was truly a victim of Reefer Madness mentality.He not only needed it to assuage the pain of a motorcycle accident but also grew and transported it to the sick and dying and continued to speak out against the draconian laws as recently as last month. Marijuana News calls it murder. Link.  San Diego medical marijuana activist and patient, Steve McWilliams is dead. Technically it was suicide, but when a person is driven to take his own life, it is the worst form of murder. And it is not just the federal government. The San Diego Union Tribune is a hate-rag.It didn't stop there. Under, "There are layers of absurdity in this story", was:  First, Steve killed himself with an overdose of prescription drugs, because he had been convicted of having one of the few “drugs” which has no lethal dose. ("One of the safest therapeutically active substances known...." Drug Enforcement Administration Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young, 1988)It went on to say that he'd been convicted of "growing a modest home garden for the Shelter from the Storm Collective" and "was depressed over the Supreme Court decision and in terrible pain, having been denied access to medical marijuana since his arrest in 2002." Link.This is so tragic and so completely unjust. The mentality of those opposed to medicinal marijuana just blows me away. The powerful pain drugs have terrible side effects and are addictive. Why, when pot can do what they can't, is it illegal? I just don't and never will get it. Another article from Marijuana News sheds more light on McWilliams' fear of jail:  On April 28th, Steve McWilliams was sentenced to six months in federal prison for growing 25 marijuana plants in his front yard. He was certainly up front about it.  Because he would not be allowed even to mention anything about medical cannabis or his own medical condition in a federal court, he had no choice but to plead guilty on February 7th to one federal count of “aiding and abetting, and manufacturing marijuana.”  Although he will remain free pending his appeal, U.S. District Judge James Fitzpatrick ordered him not to use cannabis as a condition of release while the case is appealed. In stead, he will be forced to use more powerful and debilitating pharmaceuticals, and the incredibly expensive Marinol, which does not work as well. All of this places a great financial burden on his familyIt's lengthy and informative and a must read. I bleed for Steve McWilliams and others who have found life too unbearable without medicinal marijuana and the fear of a jail sentence which would keep them from it. Life is hell enough as it is.It was complete coincidence I was listening to Peter Tosh's first album, "Legalize it" as I wrote. It just happened to be loaded on Winamp when I turned the writing music on. "Judges smoke it, even the lawyers do.... so you got to legalize it.... don't criticize it." It's hard to believe this was written in 1976, and it's as true today as it was then.I don't know what else to say except I hope McWilliams' fight for medicianl marijuana is carried on in his name. RIP, Steve. I wish I'd known you.Brenda Stardom
Portugal - 12:11 GMT
Marijuana Doesn't Kill: Stupid Laws Do
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Comment #8 posted by jose melendez on July 16, 2005 at 05:05:29 PT

Tom Riley is high on punishment, period.
from: Study Shows Why Revenge Is Sweet
John Roach
for National Geographic News
August 27, 2004Revenge is sweet. Many of us have felt that way, and now scientists say they know why.A new brain-imaging study suggests we feel satisfaction when we punish others for bad behavior. In fact, anticipation of this pleasure drives us to crack the whip, according to scientists behind the new research.The findings, reported in today's issue of the journal Science, may partly explain a behavior known as altruistic punishment: Why do we reprimand people who have abused our trust or broken other social rules, even when we get no direct practical benefits in return?"A person who has been cheated is [left] in a bad situation—with bad feelings," said study co-author Ernst Fehr, director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. "The person would feel even worse if the cheater does not get her or his just punishment."Human societies are an anomaly in the animal world. Ours are based on a detailed division of labor and cooperation between genetically unrelated individuals in large groups.Fehr and his colleagues suggest that the feeling of satisfaction people get from meting out altruistic punishment may be the glue that keeps societies together."Theory and experimental evidence shows that cooperation among strangers is greatly enhanced by altruistic punishment," Fehr said. "Cooperation among strangers breaks down in experiments if altruistic punishment is ruled out. Cooperation flourishes if punishment of defectors is possible." 
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Comment #7 posted by OverwhelmSam on July 16, 2005 at 03:48:19 PT

They Always Say It's Dangerous,
But they can never explain why it's so dangerous. It's a drug of abuse, so is nicotine and sugar which cause far worse problems than Cannabis. It's addictive, humans get addicted to all kinds of things - gambling, sex, food, why the focus on Cannabis?If Cannabis alone were legal, many law enforcement personnel would have to find new occupations, the pharmaceutical and alcohol companies bottom line would plummet, drug testing companies would bite the dust. Yes it's dangerous, to the whole anti-drug industry. Well they should have thought about that when they got into the Cannabis fear and hate game. Cannabis is one of the most devine substances on earth.Tom Riley is the mouth piece for ONDCP and he must really hate marijuana, or be paid pretty good to spin his web of fear and fradulaent information around Cannabis.Yes Cannabis is dangerous because people would learn to relax and enjoy themselves instead of getting drunk and beating up a spouse. Heck, people might even begin to appreciate life, but than they would be harder to manipulate by the government. That's Dangerous.The Government put Tommy Chong in jail for selling Bongs, but the real reason he went to jail was because of the movies he made that influenced so many Americans. The whole anti-Cannabis thing really started over Nixon getting burned by a few intelligent people who smoked a little Cannabis and figured out what the government was doing. Since then the administration has done everything it can do to keep people from using Cannabis.Yes Cannabis is dangerous to the power of the government. People are beginning to understand that the constitution puts us in charge of the government. As soon as the people learn that they can ignore the instructions of a Judge during a Jury trial, and decide the defendent's verdict, as well as Judge Congress' law, Congress will truly be reined in by the people. No law Congress passes can be enforced without the will of the people. It's our last most effective power granted in the constitution. But the people have to be informed about it for it to work as it is designed. The Courts and Lawyers know about it, but they don't tell anyone. It's a dirty little secret that they don't want the people to know.Yes Cannabis is dangerous, it can make you light headed (euphoric), distort time and space (relaxation), cause short term memory lose (let your issues go for a while), increase heart rate (improve circulation) - the reasons they say it's dangerous are the reasons I use Cannabis. And they say I'm high?I say it's time to inform the public at large of their rights, and then let them decide about not only Cannabis Laws, but all laws. The government's been asking for it, let's be the one's to give it to them and strip them of their power in the Courts.
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Comment #6 posted by global_warming on July 15, 2005 at 15:58:27 PT

It Would Be A Day
When the Honorable Mark Souder, marched in that parade.I would love to see some man, beaten and on his death bed,Carrying a balsa wood cross from beggining to end of this parade...Mat 27:28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. Mat 27:29 And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! Mat 27:30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. Mat 27:31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. Mat 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. Mat 27:33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, Mat 27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. Mat 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. Mat 27:36 And sitting down they watched him there; Mat 27:37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Mat 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. Mat 27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, ..Sound familiar?
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Comment #5 posted by jose melendez on July 15, 2005 at 15:05:47 PT

Sound ridiculous? Read on, and DO SOMETHING TO STOP THESE STUPID FREAKS:
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on July 15, 2005 at 14:22:37 PT

well said.
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Comment #3 posted by runderwo on July 15, 2005 at 13:29:27 PT

"The federal Office of Drug Control Policy considers pot the same as other illicit drugs, a stance only reinforced by this summer*s Supreme Court ruling. "Their stance was not reinforced by the ruling, in fact by several of the judges their stance was challenged as unreasonable and dated. All that was reinforced was the federal government's power to enforce their stance, however unreasonable and dated, past the constitutional limits of authority. Just because their powers were reinforced doesn't mean the logical or moral basis for their policies were.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 15, 2005 at 10:42:37 PT

WAMM March Information
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 15, 2005 at 08:31:41 PT

Related Article from The San Jose Mercury News
Medicinal Pot Group Plans `Solemn' Protest***By Ken McLaughlin, Mercury NewsJuly 15, 2005Medicinal marijuana patients will carry live cannabis plants through the streets of Santa Cruz on Saturday in what is expected to be the city's largest demonstration since protesters passed out medicinal marijuana at City Hall nearly three years ago.The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana says the march will be a ``solemn event'' honoring the 154 alliance members who have died since the group's inception in 1993. Organizers say more than 1,000 people will join the protest against the U.S. Supreme Court's recent 6-3 ruling that federal laws trump the efforts of California and other states to permit pot for sick and dying patients.The march will begin at noon at Pacific Avenue and Cathcart Street, heading north to Church Street. The marchers will then assemble at City Hall on Center Street for a 1 p.m. rally.The September 2002 protest was triggered by a raid on the alliance's garden north of Davenport. About 30 Drug Enforcement Administration agents carrying M-16s cut down 167 plants, arresting alliance founders Valerie and Michael Corral. More march information is at:
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