Pubdate: Fri, 01 Jul 2005
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Brian Seals, Sentinel Staff Writer
Cited: WAMM


SANTA CRUZ -- Members of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana 
plan a July 16 march through downtown Santa Cruz -- while carrying 
some pot plants.

The group hopes to attract 1,000 like-minded supporters to 
participate in the noon march down Pacific Avenue as a protest 
against an adverse U.S. Supreme Court ruling and recent raids of 
medical marijuana operations in Northern California.

WAMM wants to make the statement that people who use marijuana as 
medicine have legitimate health reasons, they are not just a bunch of 
potheads and the general public supports the use of marijuana as medicine.

The "solemn event," added WAMM co-founder Valerie Corral, will also 
commemorate 154 members who have died since the group's inception.

Whether the group will be allowed to carry plants will be part of its 
parade permit review, which is still in the process, said Santa Cruz 
Police Deputy Chief Kevin Vogel.

The march comes at a time when the federal government has stepped up 
raids on medical marijuana operations in California. Drug Enforcement 
Administration agents recently raided three pot clubs and more than 
20 homes and businesses in San Francisco, saying they were fronts for 
illegal drug operations, and arrested a Sacramento area couple on 
marijuana-related charges.

Those raids followed a June 6 Supreme Court ruling that held federal 
drug laws supersede state medical marijuana laws.

A DEA spokesperson wouldn't discuss any potential interest from the 
agency in the march.

WAMM has made public statements in the past. Following a September 
2002 raid on its Davenport garden, the group conducted a medical pot 
handout to about a dozen of its patients on the steps of Santa Cruz 
City Hall. For the past two years, it has held a family day picnic in 
August at San Lorenzo Park. 
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