Pubdate: Sat, 20 Aug 2005
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Brian Seals
Cited: Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Cited: Drug Law Reform Project of the American Civil Liberties Union
Cited: Bob Hope Airport police
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Wo/Men's Alliance for 
Medical Marijuana)


SANTA CRUZ -- A well-known local medical marijuana advocate is 
considering a lawsuit after getting caught with the drug at a 
Southern California airport in late July.

Valerie Corral said she was at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank when 
security officials found about "5 or so grams" of pot in her bag. She 
had a Santa Cruz County medical identification card and a doctor's 
recommendation, she said.

That didn't keep her from being detained for about 45 minutes, having 
her pot taken and getting a citation.

Corral, co-founder of Santa Cruz's Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical 
Marijuana, said she is fighting the charge, and may sue to ensure 
state medical marijuana laws are followed in the city. She is getting 
help from the Drug Law Reform Project of the American Civil Liberties 
Union based in Santa Cruz.

"We intend to plead not guilty," said ACLU staff attorney Christina 
Alvarez of Santa Cruz.

A court hearing on the misdemeanor charge is set for Aug. 29. Alvarez 
said a decision on a civil suit would be made after that.

"Our primary concern is the police appeared to be under the 
impression the Compassionate Use Act was no longer in effect in 
California," Alvarez said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal government can 
charge people for marijuana possession even if they have a doctor's 
recommendation and live in a state that has approved medical marijuana.

After the ruling, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued a 
statement saying the ruling had no impact on the validity of the 
California law.

Calls to the Burbank Police Department were referred to Bob Hope 
Airport, which has a separate police force. An airport spokesman 
declined comment, except to say citations issued by airport police 
are forwarded to city police.

Corral said she typically takes marijuana with her when traveling in 
California, but not to other states.

After a bust of WAMM's Davenport garden in September 2002, the group 
sued the U.S. Attorney General's office in U.S. District Court in San 
Jose, eventually winning an injunction barring raids on its Davenport 
garden by federal agents.
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