Medical pot parade set for July 16

June 30, 2005

Brian Seals, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Members of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana plan a July 16 march through downtown Santa Cruz — while carrying some pot plants.

The group hopes to attract 1,000 like-minded supporters to participate in the noon march down Pacific Avenue as a protest against an adverse U.S. Supreme Court ruling and recent raids of medical marijuana operations in Northern California.

WAMM wants to make the statement that people who use marijuana as medicine have legitimate health reasons, they are not just a bunch of potheads and the general public supports the use of marijuana as medicine.

The 'solemn event,' added WAMM co-founder Valerie Corral, will also commemorate 154 members who have died since the group’s inception.

Whether the group will be allowed to carry plants will be part of its parade permit review, which is still in the process, said Santa Cruz Police Deputy Chief Kevin Vogel.

The march comes at a time when the federal government has stepped up raids on medical marijuana operations in California. Drug Enforcement Administration agents recently raided three pot clubs and more than 20 homes and businesses in San Francisco, saying they were fronts for illegal drug operations, and arrested a Sacramento area couple on marijuana-related charges.

Those raids followed a June 6 Supreme Court ruling that held federal drug laws supersede state medical marijuana laws.

A DEA spokesperson wouldn’t discuss any potential interest from the agency in the march.

WAMM has made public statements in the past. Following a September 2002 raid on its Davenport garden, the group conducted a medical pot handout to about a dozen of its patients on the steps of Santa Cruz City Hall. For the past two years, it has held a family day picnic in August at San Lorenzo Park.

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