Santa Cruz & WAMM seek court injunction

Medical Marijuana at the U.S. Federal level.

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Santa Cruz & WAMM seek court injunction

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:36 pm

The Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote:February 1, 2006

Groups restate case on medical pot

By Brian Seals
SEntinel staff writer

An area medical marijuana cooperative should be free from harassment by federal agents as should the city's recently enacted ordinance that would establish a compassionate use office for the drug, an amended federal court complaint filed this week contends.

Attorneys for the city and county of Santa Cruz and the Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana filed the amended complaint in U.S. District Court in San Jose.

It is basically an updated version of a lawsuit filed in 2003.

The suit contends that the state, county and city have the right to establish medical marijuana policies under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

"Essentially, we're arguing that the federal government is interfering with the city's and county's right to regulate the health and welfare of its own citizenry," said Gerald Uelmen, law professor at Santa Clara University and one of a string of attorney's working for the plaintiffs.

Uelmen is joined by Santa Cruz attorney Ben Rice as well as lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Drug Policy Alliance, the firm of Bingham McCutchen and Santa Cruz City Attorney John Barisone.

The suit also centers, in part, on the argument that a person has a right to manage her or his illness and death.

"We're dealing with how do you convince the federal government the harm they are creating is much worse than the harm they are trying to prevent," said Valerie Corral, co-founder of WAMM.

The issue not in the suit is that of interstate commerce, which was part of the original complaint. That concept led to an appeals court ruling that individuals in states with medical marijuana laws may supply for each other as long as money doesn't change hands and the pot doesn't cross state lines.

Though an appeals court went along with that argument, it was later rejected in June by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case known as Raich v. Gonzales.

WAMM was joined by the city and county in filing the suit back in 2003 and inlcuded that argument as part of the suit, months after federal agents raided the cooperative's Davenport garden and uprooted 167 plants. Corral and husband Mike, also a co-founder of the group, were briefly jailed but have not been charged.

The suit seeks an injunction against future raids, as well as a judicial declaration that medical marijuana use is necessary for the sick plaintiffs and their caregivers to manage their disease and that city or county employees are not subject to prosecution for helping to implement local medical marijuana policies.

A call to the National Office of Drug Control Policy, also known as the Drug Czar, in Washington, D.C., was not immediately returned late Tuesday afternoon.

Contact Brian Seals at

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U.S. Court Hands Setback To Wamm's Fight

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:33 pm

The Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote:U.S. Court Hands Setback To Wamm's Fight For Legal Medical Pot

The Santa Cruz Sentinel
Sat, 01 Sep 2007
by Kurtis Alexander, Sentinel Staff Writer

A federal court ruling Thursday dashed hopes of local medical marijuana advocates seeking to keep the government out of their pot gardens.

In the case of Santa Cruz County v. Alberto Gonzales, U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel granted the attorney general's motion to prevent a Santa Cruz marijuana cooperative and its supporters from suing the office to stop federal marijuana raids.

"Naturally, we're disappointed. I had hoped for something better," said Davenport resident Mike Corral, who owned the land where federal agents seized medical pot plants in September 2002, thrusting him, his wife and their collective into the five-year legal battle that's put the them at the center of California's medical marijuana debate.

The suit, filed on behalf of Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the city of Santa Cruz and the county in 2003, contends that federal agents went too far in seizing 165 marijuana plants from Corral's plot. The suit cites the Compassionate Use Act, passed by California voters in 1996, which makes marijuana legal for medical purposes within the state.

The Attorney General's Office, though, has maintained that marijuana, no matter how it is used, is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, prompting the office to seek dismissal of the Santa Cruz County suit.

While dismissing the suit, Fogel's written decision left two of the county's claims:

The argument that medical necessity trumps federal drug laws; A claim based on the 10th Amendment that states have say over marijuana, not the federal government.

Those points can be pursued further.

"The good news is we're still alive and still in court," said attorney Gerald Uelmen, a member of the county's legal team and professor of law at Santa Clara University.

The county's legal team says it will appeal the dismissal of their suit on grounds of the 10th Amendment and build a stronger case that the federal government underhandedly intervened in what should be the purview of the state.

Uelmen said the legal team would show the U.S. Justice Department was meeting and conspiring to stop states from allowing medical marijuana laws to succeed.

The Attorney General's Office, when reached Friday, had no comment on Fogel's decision or future litigation.

Neither Corral nor his wife Valerie were charged after the 2002 raid on their property.

Mike Corral declined to comment on the status of WAMM's garden. He did say, however, that the collective continues to cultivate and provide marijuana to about 170 patients.
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