Valerie Corral – 2
because it is illegal and demand creates this economic pressure. Having been arrested twice, and my medicine stolen, left us with no other alternative but to seek out a source. The cost to cover one year of medicine for me measured in the thousands. Having that experience shook us. We knew that most sick people and their families were in the same situation as we were. By that time WAMM was fully operational. We founded WAMM in 1993 as a response to the victory of our first case, and already had a bourgeoning group of terminally ill folks in our collective, mostly cancer and AIDS patients.
The discussion at the time was centered on making access legal, but we saw a weakness. Since Mile and I had been growing for more than twenty years, by that time, we knew that unless patients could grow it themselves, we would only be supporting middlemen. Not everybody can be part of an organization that’s interdependent, but I really encourage people to grow their own marijuana. Nobody needs an organization like WAMM to do it. But the organization provides safety and gains some political power because there are many of us. When we go to our city council, the board of supervisors, the sheriff, or the chief of police we have some clout. There’s more strength in what we’re doing because we’re organized. We have identification cards and growing certificates that identify the caregiver or the patient so that the police know