Pubdate: Fri, 27 Mar 2009
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Genevieve Bookwalter
Photo: The faces of WAMM members who have died look out from the wall 
of the organization's Santa Cruz office as co-founder Michael Corral 
works the phone. [Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel]
Cited: Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


SANTA CRUZ -- After the Obama administration announced last week that 
it would only prosecute medical marijuana cases if they violate state 
and federal law, a Santa Cruz collective is still taking a 
wait-and-see approach to its own lawsuits and operations.

"We're not exactly sure what's going to happen with the feds," said 
Michael Corral, co-founder of Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana 
in Santa Cruz. However, "I feel in all likelihood we will be probably 
be left alone."

WAMM has been growing and providing medical marijuana to patients in 
need since the early 1990s. The nonprofit co-op was founded after 
Corral suffered epileptic seizures following a 1973 car accident, and 
found that marijuana could control them without other medication.

Last week's announcement was a stark turnaround from 2002, when the 
home Corral shared with wife and WAMM co-founder Valerie Corral near 
Davenport was raided by federal agents, who arrested them and plucked 
167 marijuana plants from the ground. The two were released and never 
charged, and a federal judge last year issued an injunction against 
interfering with the Corrals' marijuana garden and nonprofit collective.

But they've been on the lookout ever since, reducing the size of 
their grow and the number of patients they supply, even though the 
center alliance they run is in compliance with state law.

The Obama administration last week announced that cracking down on 
medical marijuana dispensaries would not be a priority if the groups 
complied with state laws. As a result, a lawsuit filed with Santa 
Cruz city and county over whether the federal government has the 
right to interfere with local municipalities is one of many now on 
hold, as law enforcement reviews the cases.

Corral said the announcement left the duo optimistic enough to expand 
their fields, and they are now accepting new members into the 
collaborative. But until they receive more details of what, exactly, 
President Barack Obama has in mind, they still operate under caution. 
What happened in 2002 could happen again, Corral said.

"We're not going to hold our breath or anything," Corral said, "But 
it's promising."

WAMM operates primarily on donations. Many of those are raised by the 
popular but controversial WAMMfest, an art and music festival held 
annually in San Lorenzo Park that also attracts marijuana smokers who 
are not lighting up for medicinal reasons. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake