Pubdate: Sat, 13 Aug 2005
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Brian Seals, Sentinel Staff Writer
Cited: Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Third Annual Event Allows Co-op to Focus on Positive

SANTA CRUZ -- Picking up the phone at her Westside office, Valerie 
Corral was a little preoccupied.

The co-founder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana was 
trying to hunt down a 33-year-old member of the group who's ill with 
breast cancer. And homeless.

"They get ill and they're not able to make rent," said Corral with an 
air of familiarity with these kinds of situations.

Members of the Santa Cruz medical marijuana cooperative are 
accustomed to peering over their shoulders looking for federal agents 
and battling illness.

So a celebration is a much needed respite.

"It's a way to keep some joy and levity and celebration in the mix," 
Corral said.

The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana is set to host its third 
annual WAMMFest 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 10 at San Lorenzo Park in 
Santa Cruz. What began as a party commemorating the bust of a medical 
marijuana garden has evolved into an annual celebration.

Since 2003, the cooperative has hosted the event around the 
anniversary of the September 2002 bust of its Davenport garden, when 
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents uprooted 167 of its plants.

The intervening years have been a roller coaster for the group.

The second year was filled with hope, as the group was operating 
under a federal court injunction that barred any further raids on its garden.

This year, it's back to concern as a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling 
put an end to that protection.

Nonetheless, organizers say the party is on.

They note the day is not a "smoke-out" and illegal toking is not 
welcomed. Rather, it is a day of music, food and crafts for kids.

This year renowned author and activist Paul Krassner, known as the 
"father of the underground press," will be appearing at the festival.

Mayor Mike Rotkin and Councilwoman Emily Reilly are scheduled for 
stints in the dunking booth, a fixture of the event.

An estimated 1,000 people have attended each of the last two events, 
which Corral said the group hopes to keep an annual gathering "as 
long as we're not in jail."

"We're offering the community something back for supporting us," Corral said.

A reception with writer Paul Krassner is planned at a private 
residence for $40 per person the night before the festival. For more 
information, call 425-0580, or log on to
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