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[Court] WAMM Reaches Settlement with Federal Government


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#1 WAMM

WAMM

    Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana

  • Collectives
  • 58 posts
  • State:CA

Posted 22 January 2010 - 01:05 PM

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PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
DATE: Friday, January 22, 2010
CONTACT: Joe Paquin, 831-425-0580, joe at wamm.org
Manager of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM).

San Jose, CA. – The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) has
reached a settlement with the federal government in our case, County of
Santa Cruz, Et Al V. Eric H. Holder, Jr., Et Al.

The case stems from a 2002 Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) raid on WAMM’s
collective garden, where armed agents used chainsaws to destroy the
medicine for 200 sick and dying patients.  This suit was enjoined by the
City and County of Santa Cruz.  The new administration has agreed to relax
their aggressive actions.

“We hope that over time the federal government will recognize its
senseless position on medical marijuana and will formally codify
protections for sick, dying and marginalized patients who have the right
to use whatever substances their physicians recommend to ease suffering,”
said Valerie Corral in a statement read before US District Court Judge
Jeremy Fogel.

“We are nonetheless, heartened by the federal government's newly declared
position suggesting deference to state medical marijuana laws and we are
extraordinarily proud of our Collective's role in effecting this change in
policy. However, should our government break their word and again pursue
their senseless assault on the sick and dying, we stand at the ready and
we promise to hold them accountable in a court of law.”

"Though the new federal policy is far from ironclad, it is a marked
improvement, and, we hope, a sign of even better things to come," said
Allen Hopper, Litigation Director of the ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project.

"The policy provides lawful medical marijuana patients and providers a
very welcome, if incomplete, measure of security.  And should the federal
government once again move to improperly target patients or those who care
for them, we will immediately be back in court."

Valerie and Mike Corral’s full statement is available at our website at
http://www.wamm.org/..._government.pdf

For more information about the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana and
the services we provide for terminally ill medical marijuana patients,
please visit our website at Welcome to WAMM.org | The Wo/Men's Alliance For Medical Marijuana.

***********************************************************************

ACLU Settlement Solidifies Fed's Fresh Take On Medical Marijuana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2010

CONTACT:  Daniel Berger, (831) 471-9000 x26 or (917) 602-2445/cell

SAN JOSE, CA -- The recent shift in federal medical marijuana policy,
articulated this fall in a Justice Department memorandum instructing
U.S. Attorneys to afford greater deference to state laws, resulted in a
settlement reached today with a California medical marijuana
cooperative, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and
others.

The Santa Cruz-based Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), a
model medical marijuana collective that provides medicine to the
terminally ill free of charge, agreed to dismiss an ongoing lawsuit
against the federal government based on the new policy, with the
understanding that the litigation will be reinstated in its present
posture should the federal government fail to respect state medical
marijuana laws in the future.

"Though the new federal policy is far from ironclad, it is a marked
improvement, and, we hope, a sign of even better things to come," said
Allen Hopper, Litigation Director of the ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project.
"The policy provides lawful medical marijuana patients and providers a
very welcome, if incomplete, measure of security.  And should the
federal government once again move to improperly target patients or
those who care for them, we will immediately be back in court."

The settlement reached today in the case County of Santa Cruz v. Holder
came before Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of California, San Jose Division.  Judge Fogel had
previously ruled in the case that the U.S. Constitution permits states
to determine for themselves what is legal and what is illegal under
state law, including medical marijuana policy, and that the federal
government may not deliberately undermine this process.

"It is clear that the federal government had made a practice of
intentionally sabotaging state-based medical marijuana reform efforts in
the past, but we take them at their word that this is no longer the
case," said Hopper.  "Today's settlement is another step toward a
sensible policy, where states may chart their own course on medical
marijuana without federal interference."

The case stems from a 2002 Drug Enforcement Administration raid of
WAMM's collective garden, which destroyed the medicine of 200 sick and
dying patients.  Supportive of WAMM, the City and County of Santa Cruz
joined onto the lawsuit soon after.

In addition to the ACLU, WAMM and the County of Santa Cruz are
represented by the Drug Policy Alliance, Gerald Uelmen, Professor of Law
at Santa Clara University Law School, the law firm of Bingham McCutchen,
and private attorney Ben Rice.

Today's filing and the Department of Justice's memorandum altering
federal medical marijuana policy are available upon request.

Judge Fogel's previous ruling that the federal government may not
deliberately undermine state medical marijuana laws can be found online
at:
www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform/santa-cruz-v-mukasey-order-denying-governme
nt-motion-dismiss

#2 WAMM

WAMM

    Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana

  • Collectives
  • 58 posts
  • State:CA

Posted 22 January 2010 - 01:06 PM

WAMM agrees to drop lawsuit stemming from 2002 DEA raid on pot garden
By Linda Goldston - Mercury News
Posted: 01/22/2010 12:12:10 PM PST

A long-running lawsuit against the federal government by the nation's most prominent medical marijuana collective ended in a settlement today that enables the organization to continue serving the ill.

The founders of Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana said they agreed to dismiss the lawsuit based on new government policy with the understanding the litigation they started can be re-instated if the federal government changes its mind and sends drug enforcement agents to WAMM.

The lawsuit stems from a 2002 Drug Enforcement Agency raid on the Santa Cruz-base collective. Thirty armed agents used chainsaws to eradicate marijuana WAMM was growing to provide free to sick people. DEA agents also rousted several members and the owners of the property from bed, pointing assault rifles at them.

Attorneys for WAMM - including the ACLU, Santa Clara University law professor Gerald Uelmen and private attorney Ben Rice - said the settlement was a huge victory for the movement by collectives like WAMM to provide medical marijuana who need it.

The settlement was approved this morning by Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court in San Jose. About 35 members of the Santa Cruz-based collective and their attorneys were in the courtroom. The attorney for the federal government conducted his part by phone.

Uelmen said the case doesn't have "precedent value" for the rest of the country. "But we can point to this case if there's any further interference
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with our clients," he said. "What this case represents is a commitment that federal policy will be followed."

That policy was announced by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who issued an order that said the federal government would target medical marijuana distributors only where they violate both state and federal laws.

#3 WAMM

WAMM

    Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana

  • Collectives
  • 58 posts
  • State:CA

Posted 22 January 2010 - 01:07 PM

January 22, 2010 Statement of Valerie and Michael Corral
on behalf of themselves and other members of WAMM


We begin this missive fully recognizing the advantage that our model of governance provides. Few sovereign states have employed such a separation of power. This fundamental tenet provides a rare opportunity to offer our thoughts.

When liberty is at stake the peril of failure threatens the positive consequences of a society. Every monumental change comes at great risk and finally at even greater cost. Yet, it is due to the courage of countless citizens that we are free to write this and because of their struggle to maintain such principles that we are obliged to do so.

Few arguments have been ignored either in support or opposition, legal or emotional regarding the complex and problematic struggle for access to medical marijuana and the relief of suffering that it provides. In the more than seven years that have passed since the DEA raided our home, took medicine from our collective of critically ill patients and hastened their deaths, every day has been marked by the actions of our government. No wisdom can be gained without experience and no experience without discomfort. These have been discernibly uncomfortable years. Everything has changed, yet one thing has not ceased; that is the unrelenting death of WAMM members, now numbering more than 200. Last week my brother’s death increased our number of losses. Having the fortune to sit at the bedsides of people during the most important times of their lives, as they face death, has informed us that there is no man-made law that governs death and no experience short of the journey itself that can enlighten the bewildered mind. While we may bow to the mystery that has yet to be revealed, one thing is certain, there is no better agent of truth than one who rests in the experience.

A society is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens. The interest of society is to protect the rights of its citizens, to preserve civil and natural liberty. That really is our government’s job. It is the business of human beings to concern ourselves with the well being of others. It is our social obligation to encourage right action and to assuage suffering. But what then if our efforts to alleviate pain are at odds with our government? As principled citizens we are faced with the timeless "struggle between authority and liberty.”  How is it that this debate persists through the development of governing bodies, partisan lines and countless representatives… for surely every individual enters into a personal contract with suffering when faced with illness. Were it possible for government to endure our pain then perhaps our social obligation would diminish. But this is not the case and so it becomes the very thing that inspires us to seek justice.

Has justice been served in the wake of our struggle?  Is it enough that we walk away with a just a wink from the Department of Justice? What concession has our government made? Who offers conciliation in trade for our fathomless loss? What guarantee of freedom to pursue our work is provided? Were it not for the court, then we are afraid our voices would be completely silenced. This leaves us both grateful and troubled.

We wish to be acknowledged as the model for dealing with the issues of poverty and healthcare as no other medical marijuana organization has. We assert that some reparation is due for the casualties realized in the aftermath of the raid; an act so chilling that many members fled from our collective for fear of reprisal, while others died agonizingly because we simply did not have enough medicine to serve them. Their deaths galvanized our efforts and we prepared to endure the obstacles ahead. We gained notoriety for our altruism, but the financial strain wore our foundation threadbare.

Seven years have passed since the day the DEA raided our home and changed our lives and each day we set forth to continue our mission to serve the critically ill and dying, just as we have for more than 17 years. We recognize that it is no small thing for government to concede to actions contrary to law and perhaps, the fact that we persist without interference ought to be enough. But, somehow it isn’t.

We hope that over time the federal government will recognize its senseless position on medical marijuana and will formally codify protections for sick, dying and marginalized patients who have the right to use whatever substances their physicians recommend to ease suffering. We are nonetheless, heartened by the federal government's newly declared position suggesting deference to state medical marijuana laws and we are extraordinarily proud of our Collective's role in effecting this change in policy. However, should our government break their word and again pursue their senseless assault on the sick and dying, we stand at the ready and we promise to hold them accountable in a court of law.

Submitted January 22, 2010
United States Government Courts
District Court
Honorable Judge Jeremy Fogel
San Jose, California




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