Photo courtesy WAMM
The non-profit farm that defiantly distributed cannabis on the steps of city hall and went on to successfully sue the federal government following a 2002 raid now needs the help of others to save its land. WAMM, the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, is the oldest operating cannabis collective in the country and has started an Indiegogo campaign in order to continue supplying medical cannabis to those who cannot afford it.
“For more than two decades, WAMM has provided the world’s best working model of a truly compassionate medical cannabis collective,” Dr. Lester Grinspoon, author and professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School, wrote of the campaign. “WAMM has also brought healing, relief and integrative care to thousands of chronically and terminally ill members — many who otherwise could not afford this medicine — while helping pass America’s first statewide medical marijuana law. They’ve even survived a DEA raid, and successfully sued the federal government in response.”
Founded in Santa Cruz in 1993, the organization stands at the heart of California’s collective growing model. WAMM’s director and co-founder Valerie Corral, helped author Proposition 215 – which made California the first state in the nation to provide medical marijuana for those in need. Corral also played a key role in drafting Senate Bill 420, a law that recognized the rights of patients and their caregivers to associate collectively or cooperatively to distribute cannabis. When DEA agents raided the farm at gunpoint in 2002, destroying the entire crop of state-legal cannabis, the organization fought back to distribute marijuana on the steps of city hall. It then went further, eventually settling a lawsuit with the federal government that essentially protects the farm from the threat of future federal action.
“The medical marijuana movement began with a promise to put patients before profits, but too many so called compassionate collectives close their doors on those unable to afford high prices for a natural remedy,” Corral said in the campaign video. “WAMM has always been the exception, but now we face our own financial challenge. Without your immediate support we could lose the land where we’ve grown our medicine for more than 20 years.”
At WAMM almost all members of the non-profit contribute work in exchange for their medicine. In addition, members who have become too sick to work never go without the cannabis they need. Over the years Corral, a 5-foot firebrand, has been responsible for helping hundreds of patients who could not afford the often prohibitively expensive flowers sold at many dispensaries. WAMM is now raising funds to make a payment towards purchasing its land while continuing to provide medical cannabis for low-income patients on a sliding scale.
“The farm is located in the bucolic environs of the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a wonder to behold,” longtime cannabis activist Rick Pfrommer says. “Mature cannabis plants along with vegetables and flowers fill the space. The farm itself has been an integral part of WAMM’s healing mission, with many patients spending their last days tending the plants we all love and that provide them with a measure of relief. The model that WAMM has created is a powerful testament to collective action and what can be provided for all when people work together.”
“Saving the WAMM farm is not just important, it is essential,” he says. “In a time where money is flooding into the industry from every direction, to not do so would diminish us all. Many good people have given their lives to the cause of freeing the cannabis plant and WAMM is one of our shining examples of the power of collective action. Now they just need some of your cash to help with their crucial mission.”
Perks of the campaign include books, T-shirts and an infused garden meal made by Corral’s mother, Nonna Marijuana.
Contribute to save WAMM here.