Why I'm Fighting Federal Drug Laws From City Hall

Why I'm Fighting Federal Drug Laws From City Hall
Posted by CN Staff on September 20, 2002 at 22:35:27 PT
By Christopher Krohn
Source: New York Times 
How did I, a mayor of a small town in California, wind up in a tug of war with the Drug Enforcement Agency? This week, I stood in front of Santa Cruz's city hall as a local group that provides medical marijuana went about its weekly task of distributing the drug to the sick and dying. My story begins on the morning of Sept. 5 when approximately 30 men, dressed in military fatigues and carrying automatic weapons, descended on a small cooperative farm run by the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana in northern Santa Cruz County, about 65 miles south of San Francisco. 
They were pulling up organically grown marijuana plants. When the Santa Cruz County sheriff's office learned what was going on, it was at a loss to explain who the intruders were or what type of response was in order. I didn't hear about the raid until 10 a.m., when I was called by members of the collective. I then telephoned the Santa Cruz police chief and other local officials. The chief hadn't heard anything either. Later it became clear that the D.E.A. was making a raid. Agents collected more than 130 plants and arrested the founders of the medical marijuana collective, Valerie and Mike Corral. The Corrals were taken to a federal detention center in San Jose, but no charges were filed and they were subsequently released.The D.E.A. was right to release them. But the Corrals shouldn't have been there in the first place. They had not been breaking the law. They were growing marijuana specifically for people who had been legally prescribed the substance to help them with chronic pain brought on by cancer, diabetes and other illnesses. These weren't new laws, either. Residents in Santa Cruz County had voted in 1992 to legalize the use of medical marijuana. In 1996, Californians approved Proposition 215, a statewide measure to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Two years ago our city council passed an ordinance to make it easier to grow and distribute medical marijuana under the new law.Before the morning raid, Santa Cruz had a good relationship with drug enforcement officials. Santa Cruz, like many communities, has a problem with illegal drugs, most notably heroin and methamphetamine. In the last 15 months, the D.E.A. has conducted two operations here; working with the sheriff's office and the Santa Cruz Police Department, the agency has caught hundreds of drug dealers and users. According to our police chief, "the D.E.A. did an excellent job" in these operations. That was not the case on Sept. 5. The D.E.A. came to town unannounced and under cover of darkness.I'm worried that the agency is going to be coming to other towns, too. Since 1996, eight other states  Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Colorado and Maine  have passed laws allowing for the use of medical marijuana. At the same time, the Department of Justice has made it clear that it opposes the use of marijuana under any circumstances. Clearly, state law and federal law are on a collision course. I would not be surprised if there are more raids. And if there are more raids, more mayors and elected officials will find themselves doing what we did here this week: standing with people like the Corrals as they deliver medical marijuana to patients who are using the drug on the advice of a physician.The government is fighting a losing battle. In the states where medical marijuana has been on the ballot, it has received overwhelming approval from voters. Canada and Great Britain recently approved the medical use of marijuana and plan to have the government grow and distribute it. As medical costs skyrocket, medical marijuana is a cost-effective way to treat people with chronic pain. Most of all, making medical marijuana available is an act of common sense and compassion. The Corrals' collective lost 40 members this year; many of them left this world with Ms. Corral holding their hand.I'm hopeful that this week's events will prompt the federal government to begin working with state and local governments to determine how far it can go in regulating activity that has been approved by the states and that has negligible effects on interstate commerce. There's legislation in Congress, supported by a bipartisan coalition, that would allow all states to approve medical marijuana, thus eliminating any conflict with federal law. To me, that makes sense. But until it passes, I'm standing with the Corrals. Christopher Krohn, a Democrat, is mayor of Santa Cruz, Calif.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Christopher KrohnPublished: September 21, 2002Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company Contact: letters Website: Related Articles & Web Sites:WAMM For Safe Access From WAMM Protest Pot Issue is About The Sick, Dying Cruz Defies U.S. On Marijuana California City Hands Out Marijuana
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Comment #20 posted by The GCW on September 21, 2002 at 10:46:48 PT
A Russian official quoted: "a new Hitler."
Bush was rebuked by the International Atomic Energy Commission for wildly distorting the Commission's views on whether Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had atomic weapons of mass destruction. Nelson Mandela said that Bush was a threat to world peace. A Russian official described Bush as "a new Hitler." Japanese critics noted that the US is the only country ever to have used atomic weapons of mass destruction, as they commemorated in August the US's World War Two use of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs literally melted hundreds of thousands of people alive, as depicted in the classic black and white movie, "Black Rain." War Fever in Washington, DC 
by Pete Brady (19 Sept, 2002) 9-11 questions increase as sabers rattle "Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler used." (That will only be more evident...) Thank You DdC for bringing this to Our attention. 
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Comment #19 posted by DdC on September 21, 2002 at 10:14:14 PT
Candlelight Vigils for MMJ this Sunday 22 Sept.
CANDLELIGHT VIGILS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA THIS SUNDAY 22 SEPT. (unless otherwise noted)CA Bay Area; 6:45 pm, Jack London Square, 1st & Broadway, Oakland. Bring candles, photos, flowers, and other objects to leave behind to commemorate all those incarcerated or dead due to drug war policies. For more info call 510.486.8083CA Chico (Bryan Epis' home town) on Sunday, Sept. 22nd, from 6:30-7:30 PM. It will be in front of the City Hall, on the corner of Main and 4th Street. Bring candles and signs. Contact - Kim (530)894-0832CA - Los Angeles: 6:45, Federal Courthouse, near Chinatown. For more info,
                       cpca215 aol.comCA - Sacramento: 6:30 Federal Courthouse, 5th and I , marching to the jail where Brian is being held and circle it a couple of times, singing and chanting. For more info Aundre, or Amanda 916.628.2716CA San Diego: bob for locationCA - Santa Barbara: 6:45, Cabrillo and State Street, the grass above the beach by the WharfCA - Sebastopol: Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris St. 6:30DC Washington, Candlelight vigil 8 pm, The White HouseFL Tampa: Florida Cannabis Action Network will be hosting the vigil at 8 pm Sunday 9/22 at a television news network's location: WFTS - 4045 N. Himes Ave. Contact: anthony flcan.orgIL Chicago - The candle light will be at Arvey Field, Roosevelt Rd. Between Lake Shore Drive and Columbus. Action on 23rd at 5 pm at the Federal Building Jackson & DearbornOH - Cleveland City Hall, 601 Lakeside Ave, September 23, 2002 at 7:00pm. If you can't attend the vigil please call Cleveland City Councilman Jay Westbrook at 216-664-4230. Ask the councilman to introduce a resolution to Cleveland City Council to support an Ohio patient's right to gain access and use of marijuana. Please be nice and if you get his message machine leave a detailed message with a call back number. For more information contact the Ohio Cannabis Society 216-521-9333.OR Eugene, Federal Building, 7th and High street, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.PA - Philadelphia: 6:45 pm, Federal Courthouse, Philadelphia (6th & Market St.) info, 215.633.9812TX Austin 512-326-4396, karen Please stand with us for a Solidarity Vigil, Monday, September 23rd, 12 noon - 1pm in front of the Federal Building, 300 E. 8th St. near Trinity in Austin Texas.TX Houston, 7:30 pm, candlelight vigil in front of the federal courthouse here (the address is 515 Rusk) We'll be holding a press conference at 12:00 noon on 9/23 at the same location. Both events are being sponsored by the DPFT and Houston NORML. Contact Dean Becker dean, 281-752-9198, Cell # 713-922-HEMP (4367)TX - Dallas: contact Keri bernockkeri federal building downtown Dallas, 1100 commerce,TX - San Antonio: 7 p.m., Freedom Grove, top of Mahnke Park, along New Braunfels, between Funston and Parland. Co-Sponsored by NORML San Antonio and SADPFT Contact: justin (210) 829-4128WA Seattle, Vigil Sept. 23d at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle, on 2nd and Marion, from noon til ?For updates go to this leads up to the Monday, 23 Sept. protest in Sacramento detailed at Note that free (unless you can afford to donate) busses will be available leaving from many California cities. Plus there is also a ride board and housing board linked from the webpage. It is likely that this may be the largest single protest against the federal government on cannabis ever (as opposed to events like hemp fests, etc.). Please attend if you can. Numbers protesting do count.Here is a partial list of speakers, in no special order:Steph Sherer- Americans for Safe Access
Ryan Landers- American Alliance for Medical Cannabis
Terance Hallinan- San Francisco District Attorney
Alan Bock- Writer and Editor
Chris Conrad- Author and Court Expert
Diane Monson- Butte Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Elvy Musikka- Federal IND patient and musician
Representative from Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Sue North- Representative from Senator John Vasconcellos
Kevin Zeese- Common Sense for Drug Policy
Dale Gieringer- California NORML
Madeline Martinez- Oregon NORML
Bonnie Metcalf
Sister Somayah Kambui- Crescent Society Sickle Cell Self Help
Valerie Corral- Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Wayne Justman- SFPC
Jeff Jones- OCBC
Dr. Tom O'Connell- DrugSense
Ron Crickenberger- National Director Libertarian Party
Lanny Swerdlow- MAPP
Mary Pat Jacobs- Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Pebbles Trippet- Mendocino Marijuana Patients Union
Michele Aldrich- San Francisco
Dr. Mike Aldrich- formerly of CHAMPS
Lynnette Shaw- Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Howard Beeman- United States Congress
Jay R. Cavanaugh, PhD.- National Director, American Alliance for Medical CannabisSponsored by Americans for Safe Access, and endorsed by The November Coalition, Cannabis Action Network, Drug Policy Alliance, Common Sense for Drug Policy, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Marijuana Policy Project, and the Media Awareness Project along with many state and local organizations.               Deceptions
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on September 21, 2002 at 10:11:09 PT
I read that. Interesting isn't it?
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Comment #17 posted by DdC on September 21, 2002 at 10:05:53 PT
German chancellor compares Bush to Hitler!!! Slams German Minister for Bush-Hitler CommentWASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush's spokesman on Thursday expressed outrage that Germany's justice minister drew a link between Bush's saber-rattling on Iraq to the tactics used by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.Spokesman Ari Fleischer said the United States and Germany have long had a strong relationship, "but this statement by the justice minister is outrageous and is inexplicable."The regional Schwaebisches Tagblatt newspaper quoted German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's justice minister, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, as saying "Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler used."The Bush administration has been none too pleased that criticizing the United States over Iraq has been a key campaign plank for Schroeder in his re-election battle but has refrained from publicly commenting on the issue.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on September 21, 2002 at 10:04:13 PT
I'm watching MSNBC and they are featuring Susan Sarandon. Are any celebrities going to any of the protests? Is Bill Maher or Susan Sarandon? I hope so.
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Comment #15 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 21, 2002 at 09:23:25 PT
The empire strikes back
The Feds are looking more and more like the storm troopers.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on September 21, 2002 at 08:42:56 PT
She is a Hero
Wouldn't the world be a much better place if it was filled with people like Valerie?Here are before and after pictures from the Genesis 1:29 garden.
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Comment #13 posted by TecHnoCult on September 21, 2002 at 08:42:06 PT
Please forgive... typing/spelling.Our hero's name is Valarie Corral.THC
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Comment #12 posted by TecHnoCult on September 21, 2002 at 08:40:04 PT
In this day, we parade heros on TV, acknowledging their sacrifices, many the greatest sacrifice, for Freedom and for our fellow Americans.Many are firemen, others are in the military, and many are just average citizens helping those in need.It is apparent that Valarie Colal is a Hero. I think we owe it to her to let the world know what a hero she is. She has exposed herself to potential harm from the government that is suppose to be a pillar of Freedom. It cannot be easy to be the person beside dozens of beds, holding dozens of hands as the pass on. It takes great strength and courage. Valorie is strong, courageous, and compassionate. She has risked her very Freedom for the Freedom of others to relieve their suffering. Please remember this everyday and praise her as you would any other Hero.Hopefully, someone in the media will praise her to the public. Doesn't she deserve that?THC
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on September 21, 2002 at 08:23:43 PT
Just a Note
I wanted to say I'm looking for news but I just haven't found any important enough to post. I'll keep looking. This article is one more that shows the passion of the medical marijuana movement. I've always felt that WAMM was the perfect example of love in it's purest form. I am not a person who can tolerate something as vicious as this happening without getting really upset. How many people would love to do what Valerie and Mike Corral have done for years to help very sick people? I believe many of us. I hope many people will attend their local events this week. I hope many pictures and videos will be taken and made available on line. It's our time now! It really is our time.
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Comment #10 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on September 21, 2002 at 08:09:58 PT
Quick LTE
Sirs,  Thank you for printing Santa Cruz Mayor Christopher Krohn's letter. During alcohol prohibition, war was declared on the supply chain, not individual drinkers. Physicians could prescribe it, and pharmacies could dispense it. Today we have medically prescribed opiates, which are produced and distributed by legally regulated sources as well. Why is medical cannabis treated so differently in the United States?
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on September 21, 2002 at 06:19:10 PT
The Corrals' collective lost 40 members this year;
Is that an indicator of the "TERMINAL" in terminal illness... meaning death?That is pretty sincere, getting death. That is not something cannabis wishfull tokers do to get their way.Death doesn't always come easy.They must really be using cannabis to get real honest pain relief.
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on September 21, 2002 at 06:14:10 PT
How about SWATSTIKA against SWATSTIKA.Remember Mad: SPY V/ SPY?The deaTH SWAT UNIT agianst the LOCAL SWAT UNIT.Take no prisoners.
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on September 21, 2002 at 06:08:10 PT
To simply ease pain.
The Corrals' collective lost 40 members this year; many of them left this world with Ms. Corral holding their hand.To die with pain is a big concern to most of Us. Not just for our own, but the people around Us that We love.This is a hot issue in that department of compassion for others. It is growing because the government CAN NOT stop the thirst for the ease of pain.And because the government is the cause of some of that pain, it is their own infliction of pain that may even help elevate the need for the reduction of pain that makes people pick cannabis, more.America has about the highest cancer rates on earth. The bird used to eat the cannabis and We ate the bird. Now We eat the bird that ate the misquito that ate the ddt...1 out of 4 will confront cancer, that means every American family, will have to see the pain of cancer for them selves, and will usually not choose to ignore it.=-= If someone cannot afford insurance, then when they get sick they will find cannabis more affordable at the price of gold, than the out of control health care industry costs.=-= This news is out there and all over... Along with other cannabis news,,, this issue is on a lot of peoples minds, and rightly so, as a proven mean spirited failure farce.
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Comment #6 posted by lookinside on September 21, 2002 at 06:03:48 PT
It's time...
A County Sheriff can arrest DEA agents violating State Law. I hope it happens and the agents are held(on a Trillion dollars bail), prosecuted, and imprisoned(general population in Folsom?).Hmmm..I wonder if they would continue to receive their salaries?
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Comment #5 posted by karkulus on September 21, 2002 at 00:08:23 PT
I'm Signing UP!
in the Santa Cruz City Army..if they'll take me..I'm probably to old and fat!(Hmmm..Maybe the Chinese will "help" with some nukes..(just joking)(not))teehee!
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Comment #4 posted by BGreen on September 20, 2002 at 23:57:38 PT
What would the kids think?
The Corrals' collective lost 40 members this year; many of them left this world with Ms. Corral holding their hand.If the kids are that stupid let them care for the WAMM members and hold their hands while they pass away in pain without the medicine that gives them comfort.I'm so angry. I think I'll just cry.
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Comment #3 posted by The C-I-R-C-L-E on September 20, 2002 at 23:28:31 PT
That's it...
That's it...we've turned the corner!I can't wait until Monday in Sacramento: the icing on the cake. They picked the wrong raid this time (not to say there is ever a right raid on a co-op).We'll be there in Sac with our friend Elvy Musikka,The Cannabis Information Resource Center - Legally EntitledSierra Nevada Foothills, between Sac and Tahoe
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on September 20, 2002 at 22:56:13 PT
A courageous and truly compassionate man. More power to him.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 20, 2002 at 22:45:29 PT
This is a Wonderful Article
This article is one more that brings tears to my eyes. God Bless this man for standing with his people. They are very lucky to have him as their Mayor.
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