Case Against Federal Government Underway

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Case Against Federal Government Underway
    July 8, 2003

    At a hearing in Federal Court in San Jose on Monday, July 7, 2003, attorneys for the City and County of Santa Cruz and patients from the Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) presented their case against federal government raids of medical marijuana collectives. Drug Policy Alliance, together with the prestigious law firm Bingham McCutchen, LLM, Santa Clara University Law Professor Gerald Uelmen and Santa Cruz Attorney Ben Rice, are representing the City and County and the patients in this groundbreaking litigation against the federal government. In the case, the plaintiffs argue that terminally ill and dying patients have the right to control the circumstances of their pain and ultimately their death.

    Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued for a preliminary injunction against federal government raids in front of U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel. During the arguments, Judge Fogel expressed sympathy for the suffering of WAMM and its sick and dying patients but asked attorneys for a legal “hook” so that he could grant the injunction in light of this court's earlier denial of WAMM's motion for return of property. The attorneys effectively showed the court that WAMM is a unique, model program that stands outside of federal jurisdiction to regulate interstate drug trafficking because WAMM member patients grow marijuana plants for personal use and no marijuana is actually sold at the collective. They also argued that the involvement of the City and County of Santa Cruz in the case bolsters the claim that falls squarely within their police powers to protect their terminally ill and dying patients. Judge Fogel is expected to make a decision about the injunction in the next couple of months.

    The suit was prompted by a raid that received national attention on September 5, 2002, in which armed agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration stormed WAMM, terrorizing residents and patients. WAMM, which provides medical marijuana under California's 1996 Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215), was shut down and several members were detained.

    To read more about the case and to see legal filings, including patient declarations, see:

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