The California Central Coast surfin’ beach town of Santa Cruz hosted a homegrown “cannabis revolution” on Tuesday afternoon, September 17th, 2002.
Right there in the courtyard of City Hall, in front of 500 onlookers and a herd of national journalists, medical marijuana advocates, growers and providers handed out medical marijuana to a dozen patients.
The ganja giveaway was the local community’s defiant response to a September 5th DEA raid on the non-profit 501(c)3 medical marijuana club called the “the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana,” otherwise known as WAMM.
The club is managed by Valerie and Mike Corral. Until September 5th, it provided a place for 250 severely ill people to grow marijuana, share it, and find a sense of community in their last days.
On September 5th, 20 armed DEA agents stormed WAMM’s rural, organic medpot garden at dawn, using chain saws to kill 130 pot plants that were near ready to harvest.
The agents took the Corrals into custody, but patients blocked the agents’ getaway, and after a tense standoff negotiated by Santa Cruz sheriffs, patients ended their blockade when the Corrals were released from custody.
Patients later held vigils for the plants. Poignant scenes of patients weeping were broadcast by sympathetic television reporters.
In the days since the raid, current and former city officials, as well as California’s attorney general, condemned the raids. Santa Cruz officials vowed to distribute medical marijuana openly as an act of defiance against the federal invaders.
DEA spokespersons in Washington, DC and San Francisco condemned WAMM and local plans to honor California’s Prop. 215 medpot law by openly giving out pot at Santa Cruz City Hall, saying that medical marijuana was a farce, and that if city officials distributed pot, it would send “the wrong message to children.” They implied that the Tuesday giveaway might meet the same fate as WAMM.
According to digital activist and medpot patient Chadman, a chocolate candy guru and potgrapher who travels America documenting marijuana-related news, the Tuesday medpot event was “exciting and well-organized.”
“Each of the patients got some medical marijuana given to them in the form of bud, cookies, tincture or brownies,” Chadman reported. “Then they talked about how marijuana helped them with their conditions- everything from cancer to AIDS to lupis. They said that they resented the DEA trying to kill them by stealing their medicine. They talked about how marijuana was their best and only medicine, and what right does the Bush administration have in stealing it from them.”
Elvy Musikka, Michael Aldrich, Dale Gieringer, Wayne Justmann, and other long-time marijuana activists were on hand, along with white collar professionals, other patients, hempsters, hippies, and curious bystanders.
“The city hall was surrounded by satellite trucks from the major networks,” Chadman said. “They were interviewing people and seemed real interested in our courage and how the DEA has been coming into California. The lady who put a lock on the gate on the day of the raid so that the DEA could not get out, she quoted George W. Bush from before the 2000 election when Bush said that medical marijuana was a state’s rights issue.”
Chadman says that local police were on hand, but only to help with crowd control.
“There was a slight odor of cannabis in the air, and the DEA, if they were there at all, were hiding out, because it had been made quite clear that they were most unwelcome,” Chadman said. “I would say that they are unwelcome almost anywhere in California now. When people see you on television putting handcuffs on dying people, it doesn’t make them real fond of you. Besides, the DEA doesn’t like to do its dirty work when the media is watching. They like to work in the dark, because what they do is shameful.”
Along with hundreds of other activists and civil libertarians, Chadman is headed to Sacramento for protests at the state capitol there on Monday, September 23rd. The protests are being organized by Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group known for professional rallies and good networking with mainstream media.
“I think people are getting sick and tired of all these wars,” Chadman said as he expertly piloted his 45-foot-long land yacht north towards the Bay Area while downloading 500 megabyte digital pictures. “They want healing and peace. Pot is good for that. You think the DEA will ever figure it out?”
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.wamm.org, www.safeaccessnow.org, or dial 510-486-8083 for details of anti-DEA actions in California. Also, contact California’s senators and tell them to stop the DEA from terrorizing Californians, by passing H.R. 2592, the States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
CALIFORNIA SENATORS ARE: Sen. Barbara Boxer: 202-224-3553; Sen. Diane Feinstein: 202-224-3841