Why has marijuana prohibition suddenly taken a tailspin over the past couple of years? Despite what the media wants you to believe, cannabis legalization is not rooted in corporate greed, social problems, wasteful resources, or general thoughts about the drug altogether. In fact, the entire quest for marijuana legalization was not rooted in politics, at all. In fact, this whole debate started because of one simple purpose: providing relief for the sick and dying. Back in the early 1990s, the city of San Francisco pioneered a massive response to the AIDS crisis that was tearing through its streets, and a network of grassroots activists (including Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary) ferociously defended the little green plant at this time. Ultimately, civil disobedience paved the way for a massive political firestorm that rages to this day. Let’s take a closer look at how the fight for medical marijuana legalization began.

Wo/Men’s Alliance

Back in 1993, Mike and Valerie Corral established the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in Santa Cruz, California after Valerie discovered that medical marijuana alleviated her crippling seizures. After being arrested twice for cultivating the plant, the then-married couple decided to create the collective to reach out to others struggling with this problem. Later, WAMM played a major role in the passage of Proposition 215 and created a kindhearted, steadfast group of cannabis supporters who sought to help patients obtain the drug. So what else could possibly happen to the couple and their collective?

Civil Disobedience

Handing out quantities of medical marijuana to patients on the steps of Santa Cruz City Hall might be a good start. After the DEA conducted a raid on the Corrals’ house, the couple and their supporters (including the mayor and other public officials) dared the DEA to arrest them in the presence of public media, and (with additional support) WAMM sued the Department of Justice, with success. Victory was theirs, at least until January 1, 2018, when the WAMM collective was shut down.

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