California County, Patients Sue Federal Drug Warriors Over Medical Marijuana Raids 4/25/03

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The city and county of Santa Cruz joined a federal lawsuit filed this week by the Wo/Mens' Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) and seven patients charging that the plaintiffs' civil rights were violated by last September's federal raid of the WAMM cooperative.

Attorney Gerald Uelmen, co-counsel in the suit, called the decision by Santa Cruz's officials to join the suit unprecedented. "It's quite significant; it's really unprecedented," he said. "There haven't been any prior lawsuits where local governments have joined in."

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the US District Court in San Jose, argues that US Attorney General John Ashcroft, acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) director John Brown III, and White House Drug Czar John Walters are violating the 5th, 9th and 10th Amendments as well as exceeding their authority under the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution by cracking down on medical marijuana use in California.

"Congress has made no finding that intrastate cultivation and use of medical marijuana for seriously ill patients with the approval of their physicians, as permitted by California's Compassionate Use Act, has any effect whatsoever on interstate commerce," the suit says. It asks the Court to bar the DEA from carrying out similar raids of state medical marijuana dispensaries, and requests punitive damages for the WAMM raid.

Federal law enforcement officials destroyed 167 medical marijuana plants in the WAMM bust. The dispensary served some 250 patients, 85 percent of whom suffered from terminal illness, by providing medicinal marijuana and other health related services free of charge.

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Issue #284, 4/25/03 Editorial: International Singularity | Vienna: UN Reaffirms Prohibitionist Path, Cracks Appear in the Consensus as Clamor for Change Grows | Peru: Coca Farmers Claim Partial Victory After Meeting With President | If It's 20-Apr and We're in San Francisco, This Must Be NORML | California County, Patients Sue Federal Drug Warriors Over Medical Marijuana Raids | Newsbrief: Lying Tulia Undercover Cop Indicted for Perjury | Newsbrief: Canadian Government to Unveil Marijuana Decriminalization Bill in June, Newspaper Says | Newsbrief: Brazilian Health Ministry Proposes Legalization of Drug Possession | Newsbrief: Russia Declares War on Drug Barons | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | New WOLA Report on Mexico's Military in the War on Drugs | The Reformer's Calendar

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