Judge Keeps Door Open for WAMM's Marijuana Case

Judge Keeps Door Open for WAMM's Marijuana Case
Posted by CN Staff on July 14, 2007 at 08:59:16 PT
By Sean Aronson, Sentinel Correspondent 
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
San Jose, CA -- A Santa Cruz marijuana collective raided by federal agents in 2002 made its case for the right to grow medical pot in court Friday. Though no ruling was issued, supporters of the group, Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said they're encouraged by the judge's response.U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel heard arguments on the federal government's motion to dismiss the suit, which alleges the raid five years ago at WAMM's Davenport garden was outside the law, given the legality of medical marijuana in California. The county and city of Santa Cruz are signed on as plaintiffs in the suit.
Many court observers believed Fogel would dismiss the case because of precedent to support federal law over state law. But he did not rule Friday, saying he would release a decision at a later date, providing hope for WAMM supporters."I'm quite optimistic after today's proceedings," said Gerald Uelman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. Uelman said Fogel took the arguments under serious consideration and "appeared persuaded"Fogel did not specify when his ruling would be released.Uelman and a team of lawyers representing WAMM argued that, under the 10th Amendment, the federal government cannot intervene in the affairs of the state, unless explicitly stated in the Constitution. The lawyers said this was especially true as it concerns an individual's right to medicine. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, making marijuana legal for medical purposes. But all marijuana use is illegal under to the federal Controlled Substances Act, hence the conflict.The case represents one of the first challenges to the federal government's authority to raid marijuana grown exclusively for medical use since the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of the government in the case of Gonzales v. Raich earlier this year.In that ruling, the 9th Circuit Court said the federal government had the authority to confiscate marijuana from Angel Raich, an Oakland woman using medical marijuana. The defense unsuccessfully argued Raich had a legal right to use marijuana because of medical necessity.The current case stems from a federal raid at WAMM's Davenport farm in September 2002. More than 20 armed federal agents descended on the property, arrested owners Valerie and Michael Corral and seized 165 pot plants. Neither were charged in the aftermath of the raid, but their plants were not returned.More than 50 WAMM members were in attendance Friday to support the attorneys representing the collective. At least 15 people were not allowed inside due to overcrowding."I think the judge realizes this impacts a lot of people," said Hal Margolin, a plaintiff. Margolin has been a member of WAMM for seven years and suffers from leukemia. He said he is hopeful the case will be allowed to proceed. Lawyers representing the U.S. Attorney's Office could not be reached for comment.The case is County of Santa Cruz v. Alberto Gonzales.Complete Title: Judge Keeps Door Open for WAMM's Medical Marijuana CaseSource: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Sean Aronson, Sentinel Correspondent Published: July 14, 2007Copyright: 2007 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:WAMM Raid: News & Pictures Restate Case on Medical Pot Cruz, ACLU Renew Fight for Med Marijuana
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 14, 2007 at 20:02:26 PT
Hello and welcome to CNews. I don't understand why they raided WAMM back in 2002. I don't understand why they don't understand that marijuana has been around since the beginning of recorded time and it's wrong to keep locking up people over a medicinal plant.
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Comment #2 posted by BobbyRa on July 14, 2007 at 19:55:25 PT
Daily reader, seldom poster here. If I may, what the heck is the federal government doing messing with these sick people, who help to care for so many others that are sick?Can you imagine how much money that the politicians receive from the pharmaceutical companies to ensure that marijuana stays illegal. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 14, 2007 at 14:59:48 PT
I love Valerie and Mike Corral even though I have never met them but I have read enough about them that I respect what they are trying to accomplish. I hope that soon something will change for everyone's sake.
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