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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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BINGHAM McCUTCHEN LLP

Frank Kennamer (SBN 157844)

neha nissen (SBN 190848)

LAURI SCHUMACHER (SBN 217506)
troy sauro (sbn 224097)

Three Embarcadero Center

San Francisco, California  94111-4067

Telephone:  415.393.2000

Facsimile:  415.393.2286

Attorneys for WAMM Plaintiffs

 

Gerald Uelmen (SBN 39909)

Santa Clara University School of Law

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, California 95053

Telephone:  408.554.5729

Facsimile:  408.554.4426

Attorney for County of Santa Cruz
and WAMM Plaintiffs

 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SAN JOSE DIVISION

county of santa cruz, California; City of santa cruz, california; Valerie Corral; Eladio V. acosta; james daniel baehr; Michael cheslosky; jennifer LEE hentz; dorothy gibbs; harold F. margolin; and Wo/men’s alliance for medical marijuana,

Plaintiffs,

v.

Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States; JOHN BROWN, III, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration; John P. Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and 30 UNKNOWN Drug Enforcement Administration AGENTS,

Defendants.

Case No.:_________________

Declaration of JAMES DANIEL BAEHR IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Date:            
Time:            
Place:           
Judge:           

 

 


 

I, James Daniel Baehr, declare as follows:

1.1.      I was born in 1946 in San Jose, California.  I moved to Santa Cruz in 1966, when I was sixteen or seventeen years old.  Sometime around 1971, I moved to Seattle, Washington.  Between 1971 and 1994 I lived in Seattle, Washington, D.C., Vancouver, Canada and the Bay Area.

1.2.      In 1994, I was diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer.  At that time, I lived and worked in Seattle, Washington, where I was a driver of eighteen to twenty wheel freight trucks.  I had been in the transportation business since 1972. 

1.3.      For several years prior to my diagnosis, I suffered severe back pain. In August of 1994 I went to see my internist, Dr. Jeffrey Olliffe, M.D. because my lower back pain had gotten worse.  Dr. Olliffe did a medical evaluation that included a series of tests, which revealed that I had prostate cancer.  It took additional tests to determine the severity of the cancer’s progress.  My Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels were very high – over 600 – where  the normal range for my age was under 3.5.  I was ultimately informed that the cancer had reached stage D-4.  Both Dr. Olliffe and the urologist who I saw at the time informed me that this meant that the cancer was inoperable and terminal.  I remember Dr. Olliffe telling me that he predicted that I only had about eighteen months to live.

1.4.      This news was devastating.  In terms of my physical health, the cancer had metastasized to my spine, hips, and ribcage.  The neuropathic back pain was excruciating, emanating from my spine to my hips and ribcage.  I also experienced an overall loss of strength that substantially limited my ability to work.  Employment in the transportation industry involves a considerable amount of carrying, lifting, and other manual labor that requires flexibility and mobility.  The performance of these requirements exacerbated the magnitude and amount of pain I experienced on a daily basis and depleted any energy that had not already been beaten down by the disease itself. 

1.5.      I began taking numerous medications to treat the cancer, the excruciating pain that it caused, and the depression I felt as a result of my prognosis and the profound restrictions on my life.  My medications included a daily dosage of 7.5 mg of Lortab (a painkiller), .25 mg of Xanax (which combats depression and anxiety), 40 mg of Paxil (an anti-depressant), and 250 mg of Eulexin (which treats the cancer by reducing the testosterone emitted from adrenal glands), and monthly shots of 7.5 mg of Lupron Depot (a testosterone blocker/hormonal therapy). I suffered various side effects from these medications, including persistent exhaustion, general pain, a lack of mental focus, and overall body tenderness.  In combination, these side effects were quite debilitating.  Also, my skin became very sensitive.  The hormone imbalance caused by Lupron Depot and Eulexin resulted in my experiencing many of the typical symptoms of menopause, including loss of body hair, frequent hot flashes and tenderness in and around my breasts.  The cancer and the side effects of the medications were more than I could handle, and upon the advice of my physician, I stopped working.

1.6.      Unemployed, my financial situation was imperiled.  I depleted my savings quickly and was forced to apply for public assistance.  Suddenly I was living in poverty and was at risk of losing my home.  In November of 1994 I moved back to Santa Cruz, California, my original home.  I returned to Santa Cruz to die; and in the interim, to be close to the health care I would need until I passed.

1.7.      After moving to California, I began to see Dr. Eric Small, M.D. at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, California to treat my cancer.  Dr. Small was the physician who Dr. Olliffe had recommended to me before I left Seattle.  I later transferred my care to Dr. Fuad Freiha, M.D. at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California because I found that the frequent drives to San Francisco were too exhausting for me.  Dr. Freiha, like Dr. Small, is a nationally recognized oncologist.

1.8.      In 1995 my condition deteriorated further. The medications did not appear to be helping me, and I experienced shooting pains throughout my body.  At times the pain was so bad that I was confined to my bed because standing or walking was too painful.  Tests revealed that the cancer was spreading.  Dr. Freiha recommended radiation therapy.  From September through December of 1995, I endured nine weeks of radiation.  The treatment left me with continued back pain, intense nausea, loss of appetite, diverticulitis, sleep abnormalities, and digestive and intestinal complications.  It also left me increasingly depressed. 

1.9.      In late 1994 or 1995, a physician at the Radiology Department at Stanford University Hospital prescribed Marinol to alleviate my pain and nausea from the radiation.  I tried the Marinol but did not respond well to it.  Not only did Marinol make me feel drugged and not in control of my thoughts or body, but it failed to relieve my painful symptoms.  In fact, Marinol just made me feel sicker, upsetting my stomach, disrupting my mental acuity, and causing me to hallucinate.  During this period, I was also taking 7.5 mg of Lortab, an opioid analgesic, several times a day and Ambien to help me sleep.  These drugs alleviated the pain somewhat, but also made me disoriented, constipated, and caused me to lose my short-term memory and fine motor skills.

1.10.    Perhaps sensing that my hope was receding as my misery was increasing, a nurse at Stanford Hospital suggested that medical marijuana could alleviate my nausea, restore my appetite, and even help me manage my pain – all potentially without the negative side effects I experienced with Marinol and other medications.

1.11.    Towards the end of the nine weeks of radiation treatment in  1995, I was introduced to Valerie Corral of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM). At that time, WAMM was in its infancy and only had approximately eleven members. I decided to try a small amount of medical marijuana, and when I did I found that it provided significant relief from the side effects of the cancer medications and the radiation treatment.  In addition, it helped reduce the pain I was experiencing from the cancer itself.  I soon became a member of WAMM.

1.12.    When I completed my radiation therapy, I began seeing Dr. Richard Shapiro, M.D. in Santa Cruz, who was associated with Stanford and whose practice was located closer to my home.  During one of my early appointments with Dr. Shapiro, we discussed medical marijuana and he mentioned that he had some patients who used it and seemed to be helped by it.  Upon his recommendation, I stopped taking Marinol, which had caused me so many problems, and began using medical marijuana on a regular basis. 

1.13.    This new combination of therapies, which included medical marijuana, turned my health around.  Where before I had been doubled over with nausea, couldn’t eat, or sleep, I was now not only able to handle my medications, but could sleep, eat and manage my pain.  I found that a small amount of medical marijuana taken in the evening enabled me to sleep through the entire night so that I no longer needed to take Ambien. 

1.14.    Over time, the pain got progressively worse.  In February 1997 I began to take morphine to help with the pain.  The amount of morphine that I need to take to adequately control my pain leaves me utterly incapacitated, mentally and physically.  Medical marijuana helps me manage my pain, while limiting my dependence on more powerful narcotics.  When I smoke medical marijuana, I can achieve the same degree of pain relief with a much smaller amount of morphine and with far fewer and less harsh side effects.  The coupling of medical marijuana with my prescription analgesics has been one of the most significant and successful aspects of my medical treatment.

1.15.    I typically visit my physician once a month, to track my condition.  In addition to the symptoms of my prostate cancer and the side effects from its treatment, I continue to suffer from a series of secondary conditions related to my cancer.  For example, in June 1999, I was diagnosed with mild spondylosis, a degenerative condition of the cervical spine that causes neck and shoulder pain.  In October 2000, doctors discovered that I had small axial type hiatal hernia, which could have been caused by, or was at least exacerbated by, the radiation therapy.  This hernia caused severe sharp pains radiating from my groin.

1.16.    My cancer has now progressed to include major bone pain, weakness to the point that I have been told by my physicians that I should not lift more than ten pounds.  I tire easily and I experience increasing bone pain. I also have been experiencing involuntary shaking or muscle spasms in my right arm and leg that may be the result of neurological damage.  These symptoms have severely limited my mobility to the point that I am periodically homebound and bedridden, cut off from my former life. 

1.17.    Notwithstanding my current medical condition, my overall well-being was considerably worse before I met Valerie Corral and became a member of WAMM.  In the months before joining WAMM I felt useless and lethargic; I was simply waiting for death and struggling to come to terms with it.  WAMM has given me much more than access to medical marijuana.  Through WAMM I have found a supportive community where I can talk openly about the issues facing people who, like myself, are dying. I believe that WAMM has helped me live longer.  It has also helped me live better, more comfortably and with less anxiety.  My duties as a WAMM member and my associations with other members have helped me not only to get through the day, but also have allowed me to focus beyond my own troubles and provide support for other persons who are sick and dying.  When I felt healthier, I was very active in WAMM: I recruited members, provided hospice assistance, was a member of WAMM’s Board, and assisted with administrative work. I taught other WAMM members how to use medical marijuana appropriately. I especially enjoyed working with older members who, despite the medical efficacy of marijuana, were worried about the stigmas of marijuana use.  I also delivered medical marijuana to homebound patients, shopped for them, and shuttled them to and from their doctor’s offices and to appointments at a variety of social service agencies. Over the years, I have watched WAMM grow from 11 to 250 members.  In 2001, my involvement in WAMM began to slow because of my declining health.

1.18.    I believe strongly in what WAMM stands for and in the rules that have been established by WAMM for its members.  I abide by my member agreement with WAMM to the letter.  For example, I never give away or sell any of the medicine I receive through WAMM, and I get all of the medical marijuana I use from WAMM.  I also never take any of my medicine outside of the State of California.

1.19.    Fortunately, money is not a factor in deciding one’s membership to WAMM. Before my illness, I was financially sound and earned $50,000 a year. I am now on a strict budget, living check to check. Since medication at WAMM is free, I never have to worry about whether I can afford my medical marijuana.

1.20.    Lately, my health has taken a turn for the worse.  Some of my physicians suggest that I undergo chemotherapy as a last resort to slow the progress of my cancer. I have declined to do so because I know how devastating the effects of chemotherapy can be and I do not feel I have the strength to undergo further, involved, invasive and likely painful and debilitating procedures.  In the end, there is nothing that can save me from my cancer. All I can hope is to manage my pain and control the circumstances of my death so I can pass in relative peace and comfort. 

1.21.    The September 5, 2002, raid of WAMM by the federal government was  devastating for me, as it was for many other members of WAMM.  My health has deteriorated over the past months.  If WAMM runs out of medicine, I will be deprived of the one therapy that offers me the greatest relief from pain and allows me to overcome the debilitating side-effects of many of my other prescription drugs.  I simply cannot understand why I am at no risk of losing access to physician prescribed morphine, which can be highly addictive and even lethal at high doses, yet I am in real danger of losing access to my physician recommended medical marijuana. For many WAMM members like myself, the fear of losing the medicine that helps us most causes increasing strain and compromises what little strength we have left.

1.I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America and the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge, and that this declaration was executed on this Twenty First day of April, 2003, in Santa Cruz, California.



 

__________________________

James Daniel Baehr

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