Medical Marijuana Group Gets Judge's Protection



An Apr. 22, 2004 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, by Maria Alicia Gaura, Chronicle Staff Writer, stated:

"A Santa Cruz medical marijuana collective shut down by federal agents two years ago can grow and distribute marijuana for its patients while its civil lawsuit against the federal government is decided by the courts, a federal judge ruled Wednesday [Apr. 21, 2004].

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose marks the first time a court has granted a medical marijuana organization the right to grow the federally outlawed herb without interference from federal drug agents.

The ruling clears the way for the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana [WAMM} in Santa Cruz to challenge the federal government's authority to raid medical marijuana gardens operating within the boundaries of California law....

The collective will be allowed to grow marijuana at least until the balance of its case challenging the applicability of the commerce clause is decided in Fogel's courtroom. Fogel dismissed four additional claims against the federal government, narrowing the case to the single issue."
Apr. 22, 2004 SF Chronicle


An Apr. 21, 2004 article by the Associated Press' David Kravets reported:

"A judge on Wednesday [Apr. 21, 2004] ordered the federal government to keep away from a California medical marijuana group that grows and distributes cannabis for its sick members.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose was the first interpretation of a federal appeals court decision here last year that ordered the federal government not to prosecute a sick Oakland woman who smoked marijuana with a doctor's recommendation under a 1996 California medical marijuana law.

Fogel ruled that the Justice Department cannot raid or prosecute the 250 members of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana [WAMM}, which sued the government after the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2002 raided its Santa Cruz County growing operation and seized 167 marijuana plants.

The group's director, Valerie Corral, said the group had been receiving and growing marijuana in secret since the raid out of fear of being prosecuted. But with Fogel's decision, the group intends on immediately planting hundreds of plants at Corral's one-acre property in the Santa Cruz hills."
Apr. 22, 2004 Associated Press


The San Jose Mercury News reported on Apr. 22, 2004:

"Adding another puff of hope to the medicinal marijuana movement, a federal judge on Wednesday sided with a Santa Cruz cannabis cooperative, issuing an order allowing pot to be grown for the sick and dying without fear of a raid by federal drug agents.

San Jose U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel blocked federal agents from enforcing drug laws against the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana [WAMM] in Davenport, prompting founders Valerie and Michael Corral to immediately begin planting marijuana seeds for a fall harvest.

The cooperative, known as WAMM, has nearly 200 members who say they've got a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana to relieve the painful symptoms of diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

The ruling marked the first lower court interpretation of a recent federal appeals court decision that crafted an exemption to federal drug laws for seriously ill patients who grow their own marijuana or get it for free. For the Corrals, Fogel's decision is just more ammunition in the long-running conflict between medicinal marijuana advocates and the federal government...

The judge's order effectively enables WAMM to provide medicinal marijuana while it presses its central legal argument against the federal government -- that seriously or terminally ill patients have a constitutional right to control their own pain relief that is exempt from the drug laws.

Until or unless higher courts reverse Fogel, Corral said, `It's all smiles and seeds.'"
Apr. 22, 2004 San Jose Mercury News