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Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM)
The facts about: the County of Santa Cruz et. al. vs. Gonzales et. al

 

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Important Documents
 
The Complaint
  WAMM Order (.pdf)
  Motion for Preliminary Injunction

  Judicial Notice Request
  WAMM Protocols and Guidelines

Meet the Plaintiffs

  More about the Plaintiffs

  Their Declarations

  1.   Valerie Corral

  2.   RIP Eladio V. Acosta (of cancer)

  3.   Jennifer Lee Hentz

  4.   Harold F. Margolin

  5.   Levi Castro - Quadriplegic &  business
      owner More soon...

  6.   RIP Dorothy Gibbs
      (of Post-polio complications)

  7.   RIP James Daniel Baehr

  8.   RIP Michael Cheslosky
      (of AIDS/Bone Cancer)

     

Supportive Pleadings

  Arnold S. Leff M.D.

  Earnest H. Rosenbaum M.D.

  Harvey L. Rose, M.D.

  Neil Flynn, M.D.

  Robert Brody, M.D.

 

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1                              40. Plaintiff JENNIFER LEE HENTZ ("Hentz") was diagnosed with Stage N

2 colon cancer in 2001. In November 2001, she began a 9-month course of chemotherapy that

3       produced severe side effects including pain, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sleeplessness,

4 anxiety, and depression. On the recommendation of her physician, Hentz joined WAMM and

5 began using medical marijuana to control these side effects.

6                              41. Hentz's physicians prescribed her a number of conventional medications

7 formulated to combat the severe pain and nausea she suffers as side effects of chemotherapy,

8 which included Vioxx, Protonix, Vicodin, Donnatal, Imodium, Ativan, Wellbutrin, Flexeril,

9 Zofran, Paxil, Morphine, Oxycodone and Prochlorperazine.

10                             42.         In the spring of 2002, Hentz's physician recommended that she try

11 medical marijuana to combat her pain and nausea. Hentz became a member of WAMM in April

12 2002 so that she could try medical marijuana. Medical marijuana afforded Hentz almost

13 instantaneous relief, most significantly in the form of reduced nausea. This allowed her to eat

14 and take her other oral medications as needed. Medical marijuana also relieved the stomach

15 cramping that Hentz suffered as a result of her cancer, the chemotherapy, and her hunger and

16 frequent vomiting. Almost immediately after she began using medical marijuana, she was able

17 to reduce the use of the other conventional medications prescribed to combat the side effects of

18 chemotherapy, including Protonix and Oxycodone. Hentz attributes her ability to complete

19 chemotherapy to medical marijuana.

20                             43.         Although her body was free of cancer after the first round of

21 chemotherapy, in November 2002, Hentz began to experience sharp abdominal pains, nausea and

22 vomiting. A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan revealed that cancer was again present

23 in Hentz's lymph nodes. Because her pain and nausea increased, doctors again prescribed

24 several pain medications and antiemetics, but the only way Hentz could get a handle on the pain

25 and nausea was by smoking marijuana. The medical marijuana relaxed her muscle spasms,

26 dulled the pain, helped her sleep, and most importantly, relieved her nausea long enough for her

27 to take her other medications and have something to eat.

28                              44.        Unfortunately, as a result of the September raid, the amount of medicine

COMPLAINT FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF,
DECLARATORY RELIEF, AND DAMAGES

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1 available to Hentz is now very limited, and every week she runs out before she can pick up the

2 next week's allotment at the regular WAMM meeting. As her pain has increased, Hentz has

3 been forced to ingest increasing amounts of marijuana, depleting her supply earlier and earlier in

4 the week. The final days before the Tuesday night WAMM meetings are torturous.

5                              45.         On March 7, 2003, Hentz had been out of medical marijuana for about

6 three days. Without the relief from the marijuana, she could no longer stand the intense pain and

7 nausea, and was rushed to Stanford Hospital, where she was treated with conventional pain

8 medications. But as soon as the pain medications wore off, she again had to call 9-1-1, and again

9 was treated with a heavy arsenal of pain medications that completely knocked her out and once

10 again made her extremely nauseated.

11                              46.        Hentz is currently undergoing a new round of chemotherapy. As part of

12 the treatment, a Mediport, a small device containing a thin catheter, was surgically implanted

13 under Hentz's skin and used for the administration of anticancer drugs. Her reaction to the

14 current round of chemotherapy has been even more violent than the first time. One of the pain

15 medications doctors prescribed for this new round of chemotherapy is Marinol. Hentz found that

16 Marinol did little to relieve her pain and did not help with the nausea.

17 47. Hentz uses medical marijuana with the written recommendation of her

18 physician. Hentz relies on WAMM for access to medical marijuana that is medically safe and

19 free from chemical adulterants that could jeopardize her health. Hentz uses medical marijuana

20 solely within California, does not purchase her medical marijuana, and does not distribute any

21 marijuana to others. Hentz lives in Palo Alto, California, in Santa Clara County.

22                              48. Plaintiff VALERIE CORRAL ("Corral") suffered severe closed head

23 trauma during an automobile accident in 1973 and developed epilepsy as a result. The

24 conventional anti-convulsant and pain medications that doctors prescribed for Corral's condition

25 sedated her to the point that she lived in a near vegetative state. Friends and family had to

26 remind her to eat, and she could not think clearly. Although her doctors changed her

27 medications and tried different dosages, the seizures continued to strike with little warning.

28                              49.         When conventional medications failed to control her epileptic seizures,

COMPLAINT FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF,
DECLARATORY RELIEF, AND DAMAGES

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1 Corral turned to medical marijuana. The medical marijuana successfully controls her seizures,

2 replacing conventional medication.

3                              50.        Corral uses medical marijuana with the written recommendation of her

4 physician. Corral relies on WAMM for access to medical marijuana that is medically safe and

5 free from chemical adulterants that could jeopardize her health. Corral uses medical marijuana

6 solely within California, does not purchase her medical marijuana, and does not distribute any

7 marijuana to others. Corral lives in Davenport, California, which is in the County of Santa Cruz.

8                              51.         Corral is the founder and executive director of WAMM. She started the

9 collective because she realized that sick and dying people often face not only a physical struggle

10 with their illnesses, but also discrimination and intolerance. Corral's goal was to create a

11 community in which sick and dying patients provide each other with emotional support and

12      physical care.

13                              52.        Corral played an active role in the voter-initiated enactment of California's

14 Compassionate Use Act. She was also a plaintiff in Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (9th Cir.

15 2002), in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed an injunction barring

16 the federal government from either revoking a physician's license to prescribe controlled

17 substances or conducting an investigation of a physician that might lead to such revocation

18 where the basis of the government's action is solely the physician's professional

19 recommendation of the use of medical marijuana. See id. at 632.

20                              53.        Corral is also active in education and research regarding the efficacy of

21 different medical marijuana varieties and their effects on different symptoms. Her most recent

22 publication is Differential Effects of Medical Marijuana Based on Strain & Route of

23 Administration: A Three-Year Observational Study, peer reviewed and published in 2001.

24 Corral also served on a 28-member panel convened by the California legislature to assess the

25 effectiveness of marijuana. The panel included, among others, California Attorney General Bill

26 Lockyer, Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy and California Senator John

27 Vasconcellos. The panel looked at all the aspects of the effects of legalizing medicinal

28 marijuana. Corral was an advisor on the panel for the committee responsible for studying and

COMPLAINT FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF,
DECLARATORY RELIEF, AND DAMAGES

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1      reviewing different cultivation techniques.

2                              54. Plaintiff HAROLD F. "HAL" MARGOLIN ("Margolin") was diagnosed

3 with chronic myelopathy secondary to cervical spondylosis in 1995, a condition which resulted

 

4 in numbness in his left arm and hand, weakness in his triceps, and back and shoulder pain. In

 

5 1996 during a surgery for double cervical fusion his spinal cord may have suffered a contusion.

 

6 After the surgery he developed an edema which resulted in a dramatic deterioration of his

 

7 condition. He was diagnosed with chronic peripheral neuropathy in addition to his ongoing

 

8 myelopathy. As a result of these conditions Hal suffers chronic nerve pain, limited feeling in his

 

9 hands and feet, loss of balance, a severe burning sensation in his feet, and a spastic gait.

 

10                              55.        In 1998, Margolin began using medical marijuana to relieve his severe

11 pain. The pain relief Margolin experiences with medical marijuana allows him to exercise three

12 times a week, a regimen that has become more important since he suffered a heart attack in 2000.

13                              56.        To combat the excruciating pain that accompanies Margolin's neuropathy,

14 his physician prescribed a conventional pain killer, Neurontin, in 1999. The pain killer caused

15 Margolin to lose muscle control so that he jerked and lurched uncontrollably. Because of this

16 reaction, Margolin cannot tolerate enough Neurontin to effectively manage his pain. The other

17 conventional medications Margolin tried to combat his neural pain were not effective.

18                              57. Before joining WAMM, purchasing medical marijuana was a financial

19 burden that forced Margolin to consume less than he needed to effectively manage his pain.

20 Because WAMM provides Margolin with medical marijuana free of charge, his dosage is now

21 determined by his medical needs rather than his economic means. However, since the September

22 raid, Margolin's dosage has decreased due to diminishing supply, increasing the amount of pain

23 that he suffers.

24                              58. Margolin uses medical marijuana with the written recommendation of his

25 physician. Margolin relies on WAMM for access to medical marijuana that is medically safe and

26 free from chemical adulterants that could jeopardize his health. Margolin uses medical

27 marijuana solely within California, does not purchase the marijuana, and does not distribute any

28 marijuana to others. Margolin lives in Santa Cruz, California.

 

COMPLAINT FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF,
DECLARATORY RELIEF, AND DAMAGES

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1                              59.        Plaintiff DOROTHY GIBBS ("Gibbs") contracted polio as an infant and

2 now suffers from post-polio syndrome. At age 93, she is currently the eldest WAMM member.

3 She suffers from severe pain in her back and left shoulder and numbness in her legs. Because

4 she has difficulty bending her spine, rising from a sitting position causes severe pain. Gibbs'

5 condition leaves her entirely bedridden.

6        60.          To control her severe and chronic pain, Gibbs took the conventional pain

7 medications morphine, potassium chloride, Halprin, Crankberry, Senokat, Detrol, and Docusate

8 sodium. These medications caused her severe nausea that conventional anti-nausea medications

9       failed to control.

10                             61.         With the written recommendation of her physician, Gibbs joined WAMM

11 and began using medical marijuana for nausea-free pain relief. Medical marijuana is especially

12 helpful in controlling Gibss' breakthrough pain. Gibbs consumes medical marijuana in edible,

13 drinkable, smokeable, and pill forms. Gibbs is steadfast in her belief that the federal government

14 should not be allowed to interfere with her ability to obtain and use medical marijuana to relieve

15 her of her chronic pain and to make her last days as comfortable as possible.

16 62. Gibbs uses medical marijuana with the written recommendation of her

17 physician. Gibbs relies on WAMM for access to medical marijuana that is medically safe and

18 free from chemical adulterants that could jeopardize her health. Gibbs uses medical marijuana

19 solely within California, does not purchase her medical marijuana, and does not distribute any

20 marijuana to others. Gibbs lives in Santa Cruz, California.

 

21                                                                          Defendants

22       63.         Defendant Alberto Gonzales ("Gonzales") is sued in his official capacity

23 as the Attorney General of the United States. Defendant Gonzales ratified the federal policy of

24 disrupting implementation of the Compassionate Use Act, including the Plaintiffs' lawful

25       activities.

 

26                              64.        Defendant JOHN B. BROWN, III ("Brown") is sued in his official

27 capacity as the acting Administrator of the DEA. Defendant Brown ratified the federal policy of

28 disrupting implementation of the Compassionate Use Act, including the Plaintiffs' lawful

COMPLAINT FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF,
DECLARATORY RELIEF, AND DAMAGES

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1                              59.        Plaintiff DOROTHY GIBBS ("Gibbs") contracted polio as an infant and

2 now suffers from post-polio syndrome. At age 93, she is currently the eldest WAMM member.

3 She suffers from severe pain in her back and left shoulder and numbness in her legs. Because

4 she has difficulty bending her spine, rising from a sitting position causes severe pain. Gibbs'

5 condition leaves her entirely bedridden.

6        60.          To control her severe and chronic pain, Gibbs took the conventional pain

7 medications morphine, potassium chloride, Halprin, Crankberry, Senokat, Detrol, and Docusate

8 sodium. These medications caused her severe nausea that conventional anti-nausea medications

9       failed to control.

10                             61.         With the written recommendation of her physician, Gibbs joined WAMM

11 and began using medical marijuana for nausea-free pain relief. Medical marijuana is especially

12 helpful in controlling Gibss' breakthrough pain. Gibbs consumes medical marijuana in edible,

13 drinkable, smokeable, and pill forms. Gibbs is steadfast in her belief that the federal government

14 should not be allowed to interfere with her ability to obtain and use medical marijuana to relieve

15 her of her chronic pain and to make her last days as comfortable as possible.

16 62. Gibbs uses medical marijuana with the written recommendation of her

17 physician. Gibbs relies on WAMM for access to medical marijuana that is medically safe and

18 free from chemical adulterants that could jeopardize her health. Gibbs uses medical marijuana

19 solely within California, does not purchase her medical marijuana, and does not distribute any

20 marijuana to others. Gibbs lives in Santa Cruz, California.

 

21                                                                          Defendants

22       63.         Defendant Alberto Gonzales ("Gonzales") is sued in his official capacity

23 as the Attorney General of the United States. Defendant Gonzales ratified the federal policy of

24 disrupting implementation of the Compassionate Use Act, including the Plaintiffs' lawful

25       activities.

 

26                              64.        Defendant JOHN B. BROWN, III ("Brown") is sued in his official

27 capacity as the acting Administrator of the DEA. Defendant Brown ratified the federal policy of

28 disrupting implementation of the Compassionate Use Act, including the Plaintiffs' lawful

COMPLAINT FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF,
DECLARATORY RELIEF, AND DAMAGES

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1      activities.

2                              65.         Defendant JOHN P. WALTERS ("Walters") is sued in his official

3 capacity as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Defendant Walters

4 ratified the federal policy of disrupting implementation of the Compassionate Use Act, including

5       the Plaintiffs' lawful activities.

6                             66. Defendants 30 UNKNOWN DRUG ENFORCEMENT

7 ADMINISTRATION AGENTS conducted the September 5, 2002 raid on WAMM's collective.

 8 They are sued in their individual capacities. The identities of the DEA agents who conducted the

9 raid are unknown to Plaintiffs at this time.

10                                                                           FACTS

11                             67.        On November 5, 1996, the citizens of California approved Proposition

12 215, the Compassionate Use Act, Cal. Health & Safety Code 11362.5, which makes it lawful

13 for patients to cultivate and use marijuana for medical purposes when they do so with the

14 recommendation or advice of their physicians. The primary purposes of the Compassionate Use

15      Act are:

16

17

18

19

         To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where the medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person's health would benefit from the use of marijuana- in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine or any other illness for which marijuana provides reliefi;]

20

21

         To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are
not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction[; and]

 

22

23

         To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in
medical need of marijuana. Id.1

24 --------------------------------------------------

25        1 At least eight other states (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon

            and Washington) have passed laws approving the use of medical marijuana. See Alaska Stat.

26        Ann. 11.71.090, 17.37.010 to 17.37.080; Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3412.01; Colo. Const. art.

XVIII, 14; Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, 2383-B5; Nev. Const. art. 4, 38; Or. Rev. Stat.

27        475.300 to 475.346; Wash. Rev. Code 69.51A.005-69.51A.070 and

69.51A.90069.51A.902; and Haw. Rev. Stat. 329-121 to 329-128.

28

COMPLAINT FOR PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF,
DECLARATORY RELIEF, AND DAMAGES

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