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Public safety "activists" in Santa Cruz recently began planning a protest against those they believe are creating hypodermic needle waste in outdoor and natural areas locally. One individual has suggested shaming clients outside of the county's needle exchange, where drug users may obtain clean needles when they turn in used ones. When proposing a possible protest in the Facebook group "Needle Free Zone - Santa Cruz County," Chris Brown suggested, "What about taking pictures of those going in and out and posting them to a web site in an effort to shame them? I admit it seems rather creepy and low but????"
Some members of Needle Free Zone Santa Cruz County say they are still angry that in March, members of Take Back Santa Cruz "softened" down a protest march that went from from Harvey West to City Hall. The protest was originally to include a stop by the Homeless Services Center (HSC), which Samantha Olden said was supported by Ken "Skindog" Collins.
The idea to stop at the HSC was scrapped. Olden said the protest was, "softened up into the event that took place." Other individuals expressed anger and frustration regarding their own efforts. Kim Gardner said, "obviously pictures and data and speaking at meetings aren't changing anything." "People NEED to get their needle bubble popped," Meriah Campbell said. "Cleaning isn't working," Janell Whiting said.
Valerie Leveroni Corral writes:
"10 years ago at the break of dawn, awakened by the stomp of heavy booted agents, WAMM was raided
by 30 DEA agents. Mike and I were taken into custody; chainsaw wielding agents cut the entire garden down, WAMM members blocked the gate, locking agents behind, and WAMM members and supporters bargaining for our release. What followed changed the course of medical marijuana, circumventing the government’s strategy to eliminate patient service organizations, legal under California state law. Santa Cruz City and County enjoined WAMM members in a lawsuit that resulted in a settlement, allowing WAMM to continue our service as the only collective sanctioned by the federal government. With deep gratitude, I thank our attorneys who labored diligently for patient rights to access medicine and for our freedom.
"To this day we serve patient needs engaging a social model of patient care through building community. As a patient based organization, we respond to need by caring for each other from within what might otherwise be a marginalized population. We provide space for members, grow all of our organic medicine, and make all of our products. Instead we are mighty, even providing care for our members as they face death."
Read More | First Harvest of 2012 for Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM)
Previous Coverage: Defiant Santa Cruz Distributes Medical Marijuana
|| WAMM March for Medical Marijuana
|| Medical Marijuana, Hemp and Music Festival
|| WAMM Collective Wins Prestigious Award, Survives Wildfire
|| WAMM Remains Vigilant While Settling Case Against Feds
|| World Premiere Screening of WAMM Documentary
On Friday, April 20th, thousands of people descended upon Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz for Four Twenty (420), a counterculture holiday observed in cities throughout the world, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis.
Cannabis is recognized as medicine by the state of California, 17 other states in the USA, Washington DC, and a growing number of people and governments all over the world.
Four Twenty in Porter Meadow at UCSC is an unorganized annual tradition. Last year, rain caused people to seek shelter under the forest canopy. This year, it was the hot sun which drove people to the shade provided by the trees.
Read more and view photos
Previous coverage of 420 at UC Santa Cruz: 2007: A Portrait: 420 at UC Santa Cruz
|| 2008: Thousands of Students Celebrate 420 in Porter Meadow at UCSC
|| 2009: Four Twenty at UC Santa Cruz
) || 2010: Gatherings on 4/20, International Day of Marijuana Celebration
|| 2011: 420 Cannabis Celebration at UC Santa Cruz
On April 2nd, law enforcement agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Marshals Service raided the home and businesses of licensed medical cannabis provider and activist Richard Lee in Oakland. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) put out a call for patients and advocates to go to Oaksterdam University in downtown Oakland to protest the raids and support the victims. At least two people were arrested
in the street while the raid continued, including Jose Gutierrez
, a correspondent for KPFA
Of the raid, Richard Lee
wrote, "President Obama promised at the beginning of his administration to respect state medical marijuana laws. He has broken this promise time and time again -- and the consequences have been devastating. This was a senseless act of intimidation. But I've been an activist far too long to become intimidated -- and with the majority of Americans and common sense on our side, I know this is a fight we can win. With our government trillions in debt, why is our government using taxpayer dollars to come after me, Oaksterdam, and the thousands of patients who need medical marijuana just to get through the day? Tell President Obama and the DEA: Enough is enough. Keep your campaign promise, and stop the raids on the medical cannabis industry!" Richard Lee has since announced that he will be stepping away from Oaksterdam University
as he expects the U.S. government to continue with their attacks against him by pursuing federal criminal charges.
See Also: Oaksterdam Raided. Can you hear me now?
|| An Open Letter to the cowards that raided Oaksterdam (and Tainted too)
|| Day of Anger: SF Advocates Protest Federal Marijuana Raids
|| Letter To Obama: End The Assault On Medical Marijuana
|| Local, State Officials Decry Federal Attacks on Medical Marijuana
|| Raid’s toll too high: Feds crack down on legal business as gunman kills 7
Previous Coverage: Medical Cannabis-Related Ballot Initiatives in Berkeley and Oakland
|| 4/12/05: Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee Reflects on Medical Cannabis
|| Community Gathers to Defend Hope Net from DEA Agents
|| DEA Raids Eight Bay Area Locations
|| Patients and Supporters Rally for Sanctuary City in Berkeley
|| DEA Targets East Bay Supplier of Edible Medical Cannabis Products
Hundreds of people turned out at San Francisco City Hall on Friday, June 17th, to participate in the "Communities Rising to End the Drug War and Mass Incarceration" rally and march to protest the 40 year "war on drugs" and continued criminalization of the poor, the addicted and communities of color.
The protest then marched to the state and federal buildings nearby. Working and poor people struggling with addiction fill the prisons and jails of the US. This country has the dubious distinction of having the largest per capita incarcerated population in the world. Protesters called for drug policy reform that would emphasize rehabilitation versus the current policy based on punitive measures. They also demanded human rights for prisoners isolated in the notorious Pelican Bay Prison in Northern California.
SF Bay View coverage |
A new film, Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health
, exposes the lies about the medical use of marijuana that led the San Diego City Council to enact a virtual ban on dispensaries in the city. Director James Schmachtenberger, who works at a local dispensary, appeared with the film on April 30th at a showing sponsored by Activist San Diego. The film is a bit dry, and even Schmachtenberger describes it as not especially entertaining, but it lays out the facts about marijuana's medical uses and makes the case for allowing the substance to be used to treat disease and preserve health.
The aim of the film was to counteract the claims of dumb politicians and so-called “prevention experts” who pounce on all uses of cannabis as evil — and make wildly false claims to do so.
“Our approach was to talk to the experts … traveling up and down the state for interviews with the professionals,” explained Schmachtenberger.
“We released it only two months ago, and it has gone viral, seen in 62 countries,” he reported.
Read more | MarijuanaMovie.org
The San Diego City Council spent nearly six hours on Monday, March 28th listening to public input and debating a proposed permit process for medical marijuana dispensaries — and passed, with only slight changes, a measure that dispensary members and their supporters say amounts to a virtual ban. Though public speakers in support of giving medical marijuana users safe access to the substance through collectives far outnumbered opponents at each stage of the process — at the Planning Commission and the City Council’s committees as well as the Council itself — the Council listened to the voices of advocates of the so-called "war on drugs" and enacted an ordinance that would make it virtually impossible for dispensaries to locate anywhere in the city of San Diego.
Medical marijuana supporters — including patients who use dispensaries as well as their managers and attorneys, as well as volunteer activists — organized a massive campaign they called "Stop the Ban" to try to get the Council to adopt a looser regulation along the lines suggested by the Council's Medical Marijuana Task Force. They packed the hearings before the Planning Commission and Council committees. They got constituents to write up to 3,000 letters to Councilmembers — the largest letter-writing campaign directed at the Council, according to organizer Ben Cisneros. And they staged a demonstration on the day of the Council meeting that drew up to 500 people, beginning at the Federal Building downtown and moving to the outside of San Diego City Hall.
Read more and view photos | San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access
On August 28th, the new Santa Cruz County chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA)
held a fundraiser in Felton. It was the local chapter's first public event.
Americans for Safe Access
, based in Oakland, is the largest member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens working to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research. ASA works in partnership with state, local and national legislators to create policies that improve access to medicinal marijuana for both patients and researchers. ASA claims to have over 30,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in more than 40 states.
Gail, a member of the Wo/Man's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM)
who was born with glaucoma and is blind, was grateful for the opportunity to meet and socialize with others who benefit, physically and mentally, from cannabis. As an eighteen year old student at UC Santa Cruz, Gail was passed a joint for the first time. That is when she discovered that marijuana eases the pain she experiences from glaucoma. Read more and view photos
Rick Morse and his son Brandon operate the MedMar medical marijuana dispensary in the Tower District in Fresno. The City of Fresno has been trying to shut them down for several months now. The city is using a zoning ordinance that says medical marijuana dispensaries must comply with both state and federal law. While medical marijuana is legal under state law, it is illegal under federal law.
The Morse's held a press conference on June 22nd to explain the latest news about the City of Fresno’s attempt to close their medical marijuana dispensary. They say that the city has put pressure on their landlord to have them evicted from the location where their dispensary is located.
Around the first of the year, there were over 10 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the Fresno area. When the city filed a lawsuit to shut down the dispensaries, they were given a court order to close them down, until the legality of the city zoning ordinance could be decided.
All of the dispensaries, except MedMar shut down. Rick Morse defied the judges order and was arrested and jailed on contempt of court charges. Because of jail overcrowding he was released. He was re-arrested, jailed, and released again. Morse says he has now been arrested and released three times.
Read more with audio
Northern California’s status as the home of high-quality marijuana didn’t need much reinforcement, but the region dominated the competition at the first High Times Medical Cannabis Cup on the weekend of June 19th and 20th at Terra in San Francisco.
The two-day event featured a presentation by internationally renowned, best-selling author Jorge Cervantes during his first U.S. appearance. There was also an expo, cultivation seminars, an activism session with leaders of the medical marijuana movement and much more.
Read more and view photos | Photos and Results | The HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup Blasts San Francisco
The world premiere screening of La Vie en Verte: The WAMM Movie
will take place on Wednesday, May 12th
, 6:30pm at the Riverfront Theater, as part of the Santa Cruz Film Festival
. La Vie en Verte
documents the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM)
, a "collective of patients and caregivers [who have been] providing hope, building community and offering medical marijuana on a donation basis” for over a decade. In the film, we meet Valerie and Mike Corral, and follow their journey as they dedicate their lives to offering compassionate care despite the antagonism of the brutal federal government.
Arrested in 1992 for using marijuana to alleviate symptoms resulting from a devastating car accident, Val later won a major legal victory, a first for the medically necessary use of marijuana. She began offering small amounts of it locally to folks who benefitted from its healing properties. This ultimately evolved into the formation of WAMM with her husband, Mike. When their garden was violently raided by the DEA in 2002, the community rallied, marching downtown and staging rallies on the steps of City Hall. WAMM has since transitioned and now offers support and resources for patients to grow their own medicine – and is still an important community organization.
Valerie and Mike Corral will be at the screening, in addition to directors Charlie Hall and Bevin-Bell Hall.