Saying Yes in Santa Cruz

| July / August 2003

Santa Cruz, California, on April 23 became the first municipality to file a lawsuit against federal drug warriors enforcing the U.S. ban on medical marijuana. The lawsuit stems from the September 2002 raid on the Wo/Men?s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), in which DEA agents arrested two WAMM founders and confiscated 167 marijuana plants. ?The heart of the matter is the fundamental constitutional right of every citizen to control the circumstances of his or her own death,? plaintiff's attorney Gerald Uelmen told CounterPunch (April 28, 2003). ?That right is so fundamental that the federal government cannot interfere with that right unless they show a compelling interest, and that is the challenge that we are posing to federal authorities in this case.? City officials have demonstrated their support since the raid by allowing WAMM members to collect their weekly allotment of medical marijuana on the steps of City Hall, and in nearby San Jose, Police Chief William Landsdowne has removed his officers from the DEA joint task force that made the WAMM arrests because the federal law is not in accordance with California?s Compassionate Use Act.