One of California's "Only True Collectives" Facing Closure

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One of California's "Only True Collectives" Facing Closure

WAMM volunteers help trim medical marijuana.

One of California’s most revered medical marijuana collectives is on the brink of closure. The Wo/Man’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) has provided medical marijuana to seriously ill patients for decades, but what makes it so iconic is its function as a true cooperative —patients are asked to provide a small donation if possible or volunteer for the organization in exchange for their medicine.

“In California, WAMM is one of the only true collectives,” Amanda Reiman of the Drug Policy Alliances told the Huffington Post. “People that partake in the medicine help grow the medicine. The whole process of cultivation is part of the healing and is part of the community.”

With rave reviews like this from one of legalization’s biggest advocate organizations, one wonders why WAMM may be forced to close its doors, but without government funding, tax exemption, or health insurance payouts, WAMM’s business plan (while admirable) is not the most fiscally profitable.

WAMM was founded in 1992 in Santa Cruz by Valerie and Mike Corral. Valerie began using medical marijuana to treat her grand mal seizures back in 1974. After she had been medicating with cannabis for 2 ½ years, her seizures had decreased from five per day to zero, allowing her to forgo prescription drugs. With her quality of living so improved, the couple began quietly providing marijuana to friends with cancer and HIV.

After facing multiple arrests in the early nineties for growing marijuana plants in her yard, the couple had had enough. In 1996, Valeria co-authored Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California, making it the first state to do so. In spite of this, WAMM faced more raids and legal woes, which they beat in court time and time again.

Though the couple separated in 2001, they continued to co-own WAMM until 2013 when Mike decided to start his own separate marijuana business. Unable to buy out his shares, Valerie finds herself facing forced closure and the end of her admirable cooperative. To combat this, WAMM launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign this May with the set goal of raising $150,000.

“Mike has been incredibly generous since the very beginning of the collective, and especially over the last few years, and that’s on eof the reasons WAMM has been able to sustain our mission of service,” Valerie said. “But he can’t afford to postpone sale of the land indefinitely, so now we need to seek that same generosity from people whose lives have been touched, directly or indirectly, by our work.”

As of 10:45 am Wednesday, the campaign has raised $28,734 donated by 292 people. While a far cry from the goal with only 10 days remaining, the support is there for the “gold standard cannabis collective.” Click here to donate today, and watch Valerie tell the story of WAMM herself below.