Medical Marijuana Cooperative Asks Federal Judge To Order Return of Marijuana Plants Seized in Federal Raid
Attorneys for the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana yesterday asked a federal judge to order the return of 167 marijuana plants seized in a raid by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in September, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Rombeck, San Jose Mercury News, 11/5). According to a motion filed in September, the marijuana seized by federal agents "is not contraband because its cultivation and use was authorized by state law." Under Proposition 215, a ballot measure approved by California voters in 1996, patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS can use medical marijuana to treat pain, and the state Supreme Court in August ruled that residents who cultivate or use medical marijuana with a physician's recommendation are protected from state prosecution under the law. On Sept. 5, federal agents raided Wo/Men's Alliance, a medical marijuana cooperative in Santa Cruz administered by Valerie and Mike Corral, two medical marijuana advocates who helped draft Proposition 215 (California Healthline, 9/25). Gerald Uelmen, an attorney for Wo/Men's Alliance, said that the federal government "overstepped its authority" to regulate interstate commerce with the seizure of the marijuana plants. He said that members of the cooperative cultivate marijuana for personal use, and "there is no distribution across state lines and no commercial activity," the Mercury News reports. "This case is unique. They are a cooperative venture growing their own. The federal government came in and took medicine out of the hands of the patients," Uelmen said. Mark Quinlivan, who represents the DEA, said that the return of the marijuana plants could result in illegal sales. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel said he would issue a decision in the case "as soon as he could," the Mercury News reports (San Jose Mercury News, 11/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.