Week of May 1st, 2024


Santa Cruz school superintendent Kris Munro sent a letter to parents warning of a catastrophe: a proposed cannabis dispensary, partly owned by a nonprofit that provides affordable medicine for patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, pediatric epilepsy and more — WAMM (Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana/WAMM Phytotherapies) — that would open on Mission Street at Laurel at the former site of Emily’s Bakery.

Though the City Planning Department and Planning Commission both authorized this project, the City Council will vote on May 14 to possibly reverse the decision. The public should be concerned over misinformation in the letter on two important points:

1. The letter claims the site is “a block…from Santa Cruz High…on a well-established walking route to and from- school and during breaks for both Santa Cruz High and Mission Hill students.“ This does not reflect reality. I taught Mock Trial for four years at Santa Cruz High, and know the site is several blocks from the schools, and that students overwhelmingly cross Mission at Walnut Street. They rarely walk or ride bikes on Mission to either school.

2. Those opposed to the dispensary are worried about youth abusing marijuana. I agree that we must protect our children. But there is no evidence that youth are accessing dispensaries.

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There is research that indicates the location of a dispensary consistent with the Santa City ordinance is appropriate. Our City created conservative rules, mapped approved sites, and the proposed dispensary is in an approved location.

WAMM has benefited our community for 30 years. Vocal public support has come from health professionals such as Arnie Leff, MD, the County and the City’s Health Officer; law enforcement leaders such as former Police Chief Rudy Escalante; and beloved civic leaders including Senator John Laird, Mayor and Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt.

WAMM’s story was told nationwide after its Medical Marijuana Collective was raided by Federal Agents in 2002. Some of the best attorneys in the U.S. helped WAMM. The City of Santa Cruz and County of Santa Cruz joined WAMM in fighting the Feds because WAMM helped sick and poor patients. WAMM changed cannabis history when the federal government agreed to allow medical cannabis collectives to comply with local and state laws. Therapeutic cannabis has helped millions of people. Learn more at wammphytotherapies.org.

Val Corral and her former husband Michael founded WAMM. She put her life savings into meeting all requirements for this project. If the approval is overturned, WAMM will cease to exist, and citizens in need will lose a source of medicine. Before May 14, please let the City of Santa Cruz know you want them to vote in favor of WAMM. And please share this with friends.

Contact: ci*********@ci*************.com or 831-420-5020.

Ben Rice, Santa Cruz


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