Since 1993, the WAMM medical marijuana garden in Santa Cruz, California has been growing free outdoor organic cannabis for chronically and terminally ill patients who could not otherwise afford medicine.
But now, after more than 20 years of service to the community, WAMM is facing the loss of the land where their garden grows and, with it, the end of a collective that hundreds of people depend on to help them survive and heal—including those suffering from cancer, ALS, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, HIV/AIDS, pediatric epilepsy and many other serious conditions.
And so a #SaveWAMM campaign has sprouted up to raise funds and help secure the future of an organization that represents the true compassionate roots of the medical marijuana movement.
"We face a serious financial crisis," WAMM co-founder Valerie Corral wrote in a note posted to the newly launched Save WAMM! Indiegogo crowdfuding campaign. "After decades of growing our medical cannabis garden on donated private land, we must now begin to make large payments to avoid losing that amazing home for our plants and our members. Without your help, WAMM could lose our garden and no longer be here for those most in need."
Since 1993, WAMM has grown medical marijuana to supply patients who can't otherwise afford medicine.
WAMM's Indiegogo page tells the fascinating history of the collective, including how co-founder Valerie Corral co-authored Proposition 215 in 1996—which made California the first state to legalize medical marijuana—and how the DEA responded a few years later by sending 30 heavily armed federal agents to raid the garden at dawn, just weeks before harvest. They held WAMM's founders and a woman in a wheelchair at gunpoint for hours, making them watch as chainsaws tore down the collective's rows of beautiful organic cannabis plants.
Two weeks later, however, instead of backing down, WAMM gathered together to hand out free marijuana to terminally ill members on the steps of City Hall in Santa Cruz, with thousands of WAMM supporters gathered around them. At which point, the bullies in uniform decided to back down.
From there, WAMM successfully sued the federal government to prevent future raids of their land and then replanted the garden, where it's been lovingly tended by the organization's members and volunteers ever since. Today, WAMM continues to service the most ill and in need, while playing a leading role in researching the miraculous healing potential of highly concentrated cannabis oils, including THC- and CBD-rich blends, and other treatments that members credit with saving their lives.
Even as an increasing number of states look to legalize marijuana outright, WAMM's focus on the plant's medicinal properties remains more than cutting edge.
“Every day patients call to tell us that instead of their condition worsening, there’s no evidence of disease,” Corral recently told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. "So it would be ludicrous if the DEA were unable to shut us down in 2002, but now a lack of money does."
"WAMM's 100 percent organic sun-grown cannabis medicine helps me survive—and thrive—more than 10 years after doctors said my cancer was terminal. I volunteer in the garden to make sure other members enjoy the same opportunity to heal." — Charlie
If you want to help, please learn more about WAMM and start spreading the #SaveWAMM message to your friends and family on social media.
Also, keep checking back with HIGH TIMES for future updates on the campaign, including an interview with co-founder Valerie Corral and a progress report on this year's WAMM harvest. And make sure to take a peek at these stunning photos of the garden.