Medical Marijuana Farm Faces Uncertain Future

  Medical Marijuana Farm Faces Uncertain Future

Posted by CN Staff on December 04, 2008 at 06:00:41 PT
By April Short, Health Science Reporter 
Source: City on a Hill Press  

Santa Cruz, CA -- Buddhist prayer flags lined the walls and a German shepherd slept at the foot of a mint-green couch as Valerie Leveroni Corral considered life and loss from her office chair. She spoke about the impending loss of a home and garden that has provided medicine to the sick for over 15 years as she discussed the impact her work as co-founder of Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) has had on her life.
“The best thing about WAMM is this community of heroes. We are courageous and generous and wacky,” Corral said. “We’re everything. We see each other’s frailties and each other’s strengths. And during the hardships, and the hardest thing of all — death and illness — we still manage to find the way to survive.” WAMM, a local nonprofit organization that has provided free medical marijuana to the terminally ill since 1993, faces possible extinction. Corral, and separated husband and WAMM co-founder Michael Corral, face the loss of the land on which WAMM’s marijuana plants grow.Due to a combination of legal blows, the Corrals are fighting to keep WAMM afloat. A lawsuit following federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids on WAMM’s garden, complications with inheritance of the property upon the death of their land partner, and the inability to qualify for a loan may seal the fate of WAMM. “We are constantly chasing money instead of chasing the integrity of our efforts. It turns into this kind of financial dance,” Corral said.She said that because of generous checks that arrived by mail from WAMM supporters, the organization will be able to survive December. Corral continues to hope for a miracle.“I’m still hoping that there might be an investor or a philanthropist who might see a possibility — something that we could build on.”Ben Rice has been WAMM’s lawyer for 15 years and a friend of the Corrals for more than 20. Rice says that what crippled WAMM financially was the raid on its plants and property in 2002 by the federal government. “Because the government did that to WAMM, they have never been able to regain their financial footing,” Rice said. “It’s always hard for a nonprofit collection that’s based on the goodness and passion of people like Val and Mike to sustain itself, but WAMM had been able to do it for a number of years. It was [the DEA] taking that much of their medicine — roughly a year to two-year supply — which forced WAMM to turn to other methods of getting their medicine to people. It really set them back and also caused a lot of health issues for people.” In response to the DEA raid, WAMM filed a lawsuit against the federal government. Six years later, the lawsuit has yet to be resolved.Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana to seriously ill patients, was passed in California in 1996 by a 56-percent yes vote.Emily Reilly, a former mayor of Santa Cruz and member of the Santa Cruz City Council, expressed her sadness.“The loss of the WAMM land is really a sad day for this community,” Reilly said. “It’s sad for WAMM but especially for this community, and this country really. The fact that we’re just not able to have some logic and compassion over this issue is really shameful. Medical marijuana has never been about the illegal use of recreational drugs — it’s about having compassion for sick and dying people. That’s all Mike and Val have ever been focused on and it’s a loss for us all.”Corral acknowledged the support Santa Cruz has provided WAMM over the years. “We live in the most amazing community,” she said. “We have really been alive and survived this long because of Santa Cruz and the people that live here. Because of our City Council, our Board of Supervisors and also because of community members, our attorneys … the support has been just overwhelming and amazing.”Corral and WAMM recently became involved with a nonprofit program called Raha Kudo, the Design for Dying Program. “It is designed to take care of people when they are dying and to keep people at home — whatever they choose, however they choose it,” Corral said. Regardless of the situation regarding WAMM’s garden, Corral said Raha Kudo (Persian for “the pathway to heaven”) would continue. Corral recently wrote an article about a Raha Kudo patient and friend named Laura Huxley in which she described Raha Kudo. “[The article is] a snapshot into the way a person designs their own death,” Corral said. “I talk with a lot of people about dancing with death — about kind of entering into a courtship with death, so that people are not so afraid of this ‘grim reaper’ thing.”“Death is so natural,” she continued. “It’s what happens to everybody. We’re talking about it differently. What’s important about [Raha Kudo] is that we can engage with one another, be there at people’s deaths. And I’m often at people’s bedsides.”Corral said her work with WAMM has provided her a perspective on life.“A great thing about WAMM is living with a constant reminder of the uncertainty of life, because it’s so uncertain,” Corral said. “I’ve learned so much to trust that in the unfolding of our lives, the most remarkable things can happen if we don’t stay fixed on some single notion.” Source: City on a Hill Press (UC Santa Cruz, CA, Edu)Author: April Short, Health Science Reporter Published: December 4, 2008Copyright: 2008 City on a Hill PressContact: cityonahillpress gmail.comWebsite: Article & Web Site:WAMM Lost - Metro Santa Cruz Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #11 posted by fight_4_freedom on December 04, 2008 at 09:51:50 PT
Here's the donation page for WAMM
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Comment #10 posted by fight_4_freedom on December 04, 2008 at 09:49:03 PT
Someone should set up a donation 
site for Mike and Valerie. They have given so much for our movement over the years. It would be a total shame to see them lose their land.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 04, 2008 at 09:34:54 PT
I shout at the devil and so does my husband. I'll tell you a little story. We were having dinner with our family and we got to talking about horses. (I really don't want horses anymore) My husband turned to me and put his hand on my forehead at the dinner table and said: Out you foul spirit.Everyone busted up laughing.
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Comment #8 posted by runruff on December 04, 2008 at 09:20:56 PT
That's OK.
I think sometimes what I am doing when I post is practicing Gestalt Therapy via my keyboard. I hope it is not at any one's expense.I believe it is OK to shout at the devil.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on December 04, 2008 at 08:41:07 PT
LTE: Thanks Stan
Obama's Administration Will End Lies About Medical Cannabis UseDecember 4, 2008 Editor,One change we can expect to see in president-elect Barack Obama's administration is the end of government lies, half-truths and propaganda concerning medical use of cannabis. Due to many government-recorded and verifiable facts, some Americans know the Bush administration's Garrison Courtney, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, is not telling the truth when he claims "There is no such thing as medical marijuana." First, the U.S. government supplies patients with cannabis and has for many years, including stockbroker Irv Rosenfeld, who tours America speaking about the fact.Second, it's not possible to honestly acknowledge Marinol and deny medicinal use of cannabis in the same conversation. Marinol pills attempt what the plant is capable of. Third, there are too many reputable medical studies proving cannabis' efficacy to deny it. In fact, there are more than 5,000 years of documented medicinal use of cannabis. Further, Obama said he would stop financing the federal government's attacks on California's medical cannabis dispensaries, which may help states make the plant available without using the black market.Stan WhiteDaily Lobo readerURL:
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Comment #6 posted by sam adams on December 04, 2008 at 08:20:28 PT
reuters column (good) hope the Western Pennsylvania prosecutor is the first person sacked by Obama! She reminds me of the Catholic priests who got caught molesting and thought it was OK to stick around. No, this isn't the Vatican, you have to leave now.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on December 04, 2008 at 07:53:42 PT
I'm sorry but I couldn't shorten up the ! to fix the page so I had to take the whole comment out.
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Comment #3 posted by Vincent on December 04, 2008 at 07:16:29 PT:

Federal Prosecuter won't resign...
This lowlife, Mary Beth Whoeversheis needs to fired. So she's responsible for Tommy Chong being prosecuted for selling BONGS!! Unbelievable! I bet that she's proud of it.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 04, 2008 at 06:43:44 PT

OT: Latin America Fights for Drug Aid Under Obama
December 4, 2008Excerpt: But many questions remain about the direction of this drug war, and both Mexico and Colombia, where 90 percent of U.S.-bound cocaine is produced, worry that they'll be handcuffed by President-elect Barack Obama's concerns about human rights violations and corruption.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 04, 2008 at 06:24:27 PT

Federal Prosecutor Won't Offer Her Resignation

By The Associated PressThursday, December 4, 2008When a new president is elected, the nation's federal prosecutors usually tender their resignations. But U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh says she doesn't plan to do that.Buchanan has been western Pennsylvania's federal prosecutor since 2001. She's worked in the office since 1988.Buchanan said she doesn't think it serves justice for federal prosecutors to resign all at once.The Justice Department says three federal prosecutors have quit since President Barack Obama was elected, and two others say they'll leave in January.Buchanan has held Justice Department posts while a prosecutor and made national headlines for prosecuting drug-themed comedian Tommy Chong for selling marijuana bongs.Copyright 2008 Associated Press

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