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April 2004
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More important incremental medical marijuana victories

I just received this from Americans for Safe Access:

San Jose, CA.  Eighteen months after a brutal DEA raid on a medical marijuana collective in Santa Cruz, California, the seriously ill collective members finally got the protection from future raids and harassment they have sought since filing suit against the federal government one year ago.  After reconsidering his earlier decision in the high profile case County of Santa Cruz et al. v. Ashcroft, Judge Jeremy Fogel of the Northern District of California has granted Plaintiffs a preliminary injunction and denied the government’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint.  Today’s ruling will protect the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) while the lawsuit is pending, and allow the collective to resume cultivation.

The Drug Policy Alliance, along with the law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP, the Santa Cruz City Attorney and co-counsel Prof. Gerald Uelmen and Ben Rice, represent Plaintiffs in this case.  “In the face of overzealous federal law enforcement, for the first time a court has applied the law in a way that protects the right of a group of sick people to grow and share their medicine without fear,” said Judy Appel, Director of Legal Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Today’s decision affirms the right of WAMM’s members to cultivate and use marijuana for medicinal purposes free from federal interference,” stated Neha Shah Nissen, an attorney with Bingham McCutchen.  “The federal government can no longer ignore the will of the people of the State of California and the City and County of Santa Cruz to protect the health and welfare of terminally and chronically ill individuals.” 

“We applaud the Court’s decision and we are profoundly pleased as we prepare to replant our garden,” said Valerie Corral, co-founder of WAMM. “But we also steady ourselves for a tug of war with the present administration’s unwillingness to honor the democratic process.”

This is yet another example of the reach of the 9th Circuit decision in Raich v. Ashcroft. Clearly, because of that case, the Judge re-evaluated and determined that WAMM had a good chance of winning their case against the government.
One more little step in the move in the courts toward reigning in the illegal actions of the feds and their harrassment of medical marijuana in the states.

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