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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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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                             68.         During the early morning hours of September 5, 2002, between 20 and 30

2 armed DEA agents raided the home of plaintiff Valerie Corral, who was in bed asleep. The DEA

3 agents forcibly entered the two dwellings on Corral's property without knocking or announcing

4 their authority and purpose for entry. The agents pointed loaded rifles at Corral and her husband

5 and primary caregiver, Michael, forced them to the ground, and cuffed their hands behind their

6 backs. At no time did the Corrals offer resistance. The DEA agents kept the Corrals restrained

7 for approximately four hours before transporting them 30 miles to the federal courthouse in San

8 Jose, where they were eventually released without being charged.

9                             69. The DEA agents seized WAMM patients' weekly medical marijuana

10 allotments, which had been measured and placed in envelopes labeled with the patients' names

11 and other private patient information. The agents also cut down and removed 167 marijuana

12 plants that WAMM members were cultivating for their own lawful medical use, including seven

13 plants that Plaintiff Corral was cultivating in her personal vegetable garden. The DEA agents

14 remained on the premises for eight hours, conducting an unconstitutional exploratory general

15 search that was not authorized by the search warrant. They seized items that were not specified

16 in the warrant. These items included a list of patients' names, addresses, and telephone numbers,

17 and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of their caregivers; an instructional video tape;

18 and numerous photo albums containing photographs of WAMM patients who have now died.

19  70. WAMM has a maximum membership of 250 patients who suffer from

20 HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy, various forms of cancer, and other serious

21      illnesses and diseases. The majority of these patients are terminally ill. Membership is limited,

22 so that new patients generally are admitted only after a current member dies or, in rare

23 circumstances, leaves the collective. Since the DEA raid on September 5, 2002, 15 WAMM

24 members have died.

25                              71.        WAMM patients work together to alleviate their pain and suffering,

26 providing each other with emotional support. Each patient's "primary caregiver," defined by the

27 Compassionate Use Act as the individual designated by the patient who consistently assumes

28 responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of the patient, Cal. Health & Safety Code

 

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

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1 11362.5(e), is also a member of WAMM.

 

2                             72.         The patients cultivate marijuana for their own medical use in WAMM's

3 garden on Corral's small farm near Davenport, California. Davenport is located in the County of

4 Santa Cruz on California's Pacific coast, more than 350 miles from California's border with

5 Oregon, more than 250 miles from its border with Nevada, and about 500 miles from its border

6 with Mexico.

 

7                             73.         WAMM patients who have received a physician's written

 

8 recommendation, in compliance with California law, receive a regulated weekly allotment of

9 medical marijuana at WAMM's weekly support meetings for the relief of pain, nausea, loss of

10 appetite, and other symptoms or side effects of their medical conditions or treatment. Some

11 physicians have found that medical marijuana serves as an important supplement to conventional

12 pain treatment with opioid medications because marijuana can provide both pain relief and relief

13 from the nausea and other side effects of opioids. Physicians have also found that use of

14 supplemental medical marijuana can help patients reduce their reliance on opioids.

15       74. Each WAMM member must sign an agreement requiring a doctor to

16 monitor his or her use of medical marijuana. To meet the specific medical needs of each patient,

17 the medical marijuana is available in several forms for ingestion by several different means,

18 including "gelcaps" for swallowing, muffins for eating, tinctures for tea, a liquid mixture called

19 "mother's milk" for drinking, and water filtration devices and marijuana cigarettes for smoking.

20 WAMM patients do not purchase their medical marijuana.

21                              75.        The medical marijuana is cultivated exclusively in the WAMM garden in

22 Davenport or by members at their homes as part of the WAMM Cultivation Partnership

23 Program. The plaintiffs consume the medical marijuana in their homes within California. Each

24 WAMM patient must sign an agreement that states, "[u]nder no circumstances shall any

25 participant of WAMM or his/her caregiver participate in the sale or supply of marijuana to any

26 person(s). All medical marijuana provided by WAMM or grown under the WAMM Cultivation

27 Partnership Program (CPP) shall be used by the patient for his/her express use only." The

28 agreement also provides that WAMM participants are restricted solely to WAMM services.

 

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

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1                             76. WAMM patients donate time or money based on their abilities to do so,

2 and, if they are unable, many patients donate neither. Before the September 5, 2002 raid,

3 WAMM patients also cared for and harvested the medical marijuana plants to the extent of their

 4 physical abilities. Voluntary contributions from some WAMM patients and many concerned

5 citizens support WAMM, but the patients' receipt of medical marijuana is not related to their

6 financial contributions.

7                             77.        To ensure effective implementation of the Compassionate Use Act,

8 plaintiff City of Santa Cruz enacted Chapter 6.90 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code in 2000

9 ("City Ordinance"). Among other things, the City Ordinance details the process by which

10 qualified patients may lawfully use medical marijuana. The City Ordinance provides that the

11 City of Santa Cruz shall recognize an individual as a patient qualified to use medical marijuana

12 when he or she possesses a licensed physician's written recommendation or when he or she is

13 under a physician's care "for any of those certain medical conditions listed under the definition

14 of `qualified patient' in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996." Santa Cruz

15 Municipal Code 6.90.020(1). Additionally, the City Ordinance provides that cultivation of

16 marijuana shall be lawful "when said cultivation is conducted solely for the personal medical

17 purposes of qualified patients in accordance with [the Compassionate Use Act]." Santa Cruz

18 Municipal Code 6.90.040(1).

19                              78.         The City Ordinance provides that the City of Santa Cruz may deputize

20 individuals and organizations to function as medical marijuana providers to assist the City in

21 implementing the City Ordinance and the Compassionate Use Act. Santa Cruz Municipal Code

22 6.90.080. On December 10, 2002, the Santa Cruz City Council adopted a resolution deputizing

23 WAMM, plaintiff Valerie Corral, and her husband and primary caregiver Michael Corral to

24 function as medical marijuana providers.

25                              79.        Because their use and cultivation of medical marijuana are protected by

26 the Compassionate Use Act and officially endorsed by the City of Santa Cruz, WAMM members

27 conduct these activities openly. WAMM maintains a World Wide Web site,

28 http://www.wamm.org, that, among other things, informs the public of WAMM's mission and

 

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1 activities and provides information about the benefits of medical marijuana use.

2                              80.        The City of Santa Cruz's deputization of WAMM is just one example of

3 local government and law enforcement officials' support for WAMM's activities. Since 1996,

4 both the County of Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz have passed numerous resolutions and

5 proclamations declaring their support for WAMM. By mayor's proclamation, the City of Santa

6 Cruz declared November 15, 1996 "Medical Marijuana Day" in recognition of the legitimate use

7 of medical marijuana and WAMM's efforts at educating the public regarding marijuana's

8 efficacy as a medicine. On June 7, 1998, by proclamation, the County of Santa Cruz honored

9 WAMM for its community service, including support of severely ill WAMM members and

10 efforts to educate the public regarding marijuana's efficacy as a medicine. On the same day, the

11 City of Santa Cruz, by mayor's proclamation, recognized WAMM for its contributions to the

12 City and its citizens. On January 27, 1998, the City Council passed a resolution recognizing

13 WAMM as caregiver to its member patients and condemning federal efforts to block access to

14 medical marijuana.

15                             81. To demonstrate its support for WAMM in the wake of the DEA raid, the

16 City of Santa Cruz allowed WAMM patients to collect their weekly allotment of medical

17 marijuana on the front steps of City Hall on September 17, 2002. Six of seven members of the

18 Santa Cruz City Council, including Emily Reilly, who has since become mayor, attended the

19 demonstration in support of WAMM, as did three former mayors of the City of Santa Cruz, and a

20 Santa Cruz County supervisor. Also demonstrating support for WAMM in the wake of the DEA

21 raid, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Cruz adopted a resolution on September

22 18, 2002, condemning the raid and urging the federal government not to indict Valerie and

23 Michael Corral for their activities in providing medical marijuana to seriously ill patients.

24                              82.        The Plaintiffs are informed and believe that, also in response to the

25 WAMM raid, San Jose Police Chief William Lansdowne pulled his department's officers off of

26 the DEA task force that conducted the raid, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force.

27 In doing so, Lansdowne stated that it was unfair to force his officers to enforce a federal law that

28 conflicts with California's medical marijuana law. The plaintiffs are informed and believe that

 

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

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1 the DEA task force also includes personnel from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

2                             83.        California State Representatives in the U.S. Congress also support

3 WAMM's activities. Responding to the raid, Representatives Michael Honda (D-CA) and Anna

4 Eshoo (D-CA) signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 2592, the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana

5 Act. The resolution would allow states to determine their own medical marijuana policies

6 without federal interference.

7                             84.         California Attorney General Bill Lockyer also demonstrated support for

8 WAMM in a letter to defendants Gonzales and former DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson, the

9 predecessor to Defendant Brown, in which he called the DEA raid a "disheartening addition to a

10 growing list of provocative and intrusive incidents of harassment by the DEA in California." He

11 also noted that the DEA acted without apparent regard for the likelihood of successful

12 prosecution, and stated, "[c]onversations with DEA representatives in California have made it

13    clear that the DEA's strategic policy is to conduct these raids as punitive expeditions. . ."

14                              85. As Attorney General Lockyer observes, the WAMM raid was part of a

15 series of medical marijuana raids in California. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that at least

16 eight medical marijuana raids by federal agents have taken place in California. In a public

17 speech in San Francisco on February 12, 2002, Hutchinson reinforced the federal government's

18 commitment to disrupt implementation of the Compassionate Use Act. Hutchinson's comment

19 was in response to questions regarding medical marijuana raids that took place in San Francisco

20 and Oakland earlier that day. Hutchinson also reiterated the federal policy of disrupting use of

21 medical marijuana in a September 30, 2002 letter to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

22 Based on information obtained by Attorney General Lockyer, the Plaintiffs are informed and

23 believe that the WAMM raid was part of the DEA's strategic policy to conduct medical

24 marijuana raids as punitive expeditions, whether or not a crime will or can be successfully

25 prosecuted. To date, the Corrals have not been charged with any crime as a result of the

26 September 5, 2002 raid and seizure.

27                              86.         The DEA policy of disrupting California citizens' lawful cultivation and

28 use of medical marijuana is part of "The Administration's Response to the Passage of California

 

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

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