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[whitespace] Protest Putting An End To Government Stupidity Is a Hand Job: Or so it would appear from this photo.


Smoke and Mirrors

Medical Mary Jane has legs, long distracting legs, especially when the only other news story is Dubya trying to get his war on Saddam. Or is medical marijuana really the big story we should be tracking, yet another example of the struggle that states and individuals face in fighting the überfeds, a fight Bush would rather we forget (along with the energy crisis) as we watch him play at being a God of War?

These questions were on Nüz's mind as every media outlet in the known universe converged on Santa Cruz last week to witness the green stuff being given away outside City Hall to members of WAMM, whose medical marijuana crop was destroyed by chain saw-wielding DEA agents Sept. 5.

The giveaway even made it onto the Tonight Show, where host Jay Leno showed actual footage of Santa Clara University law professor Gerald Uelman praising WAMM for "grassroots activism." But then Leno went off on the predictable jokes-about-dope path, injecting fabricated footage of people toking up, then raiding supermarket aisles for junk food. (Not exactly the point WAMM founder Valerie Corral was hoping to make on national TV, but maybe Jay can make it up by inviting her on as a special guest?)

Also spotted in the actual footage was local resident and constitutional law professor Paul Sanford, who is on the legal team that Uelman has put together to defend Corral and her husband Michael, who could be indicted and their property seized any time in the next five years, according to existing federal law.

"Their case could be a turning point in the federal-state power balance," said Sanford. "This country started out having a very small central government, with the states having all the power, but that shifted radically after the Depression, so that now we have the exact reverse of what the founders contemplated."

Sanford says that since the 1930s the federal government has exploited what he calls "the interstate commerce clause" whenever it wants to override state law. But according to Sanford, the U.S. Supreme Court has recently questioned this policy and suggested that the 10th Amendment (which says that powers not regulated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people) actually does mean something.

"The question is, what power gives the feds the right to deny marijuana to people who've been legally prescribed it and who are getting it in an exchange within one county where no money is involved?" says Sanford. "In 100 years, this could be seen as one of the defining cases that started giving people their rights back from the behemoth of central government which our founders so feared and is why they cut away from the king in the first place."

Not in Our Name

At presstime, the Santa Cruz City Council was poised to discuss a resolution opposing U.S. military action against Iraq.

"We wanted to get more CNN trucks outside, keep the ball rolling," joked Mayor Chris Krohn, who proposed the resolution, along with Councilmembers Tim Fitzmaurice and Scott Kennedy, in response to a request for council action that included a petition with several hundred signatures circulated by former mayor Celia Scott and local rabble-rouser extraordinaire Ruth Hunter.

Last year, the council took a neutral stance on the war on Afghanistan, claiming that the community was too divided for the council to take a position.

"Last year a lot of people died and there was the feeling that the U.S. had been attacked, whereas now there's the fear that Americans could be harmed if we attack Iraq, which was not the case with Afghanistan," said Krohn.

But Councilmember Mark Primack said though he is personally opposed to a war on Iraq, voting on that matter is not City Council business.

"I marched in Washington after the bombing of Cambodia, which the government 'justified' with the Gulf of Tonkin, and I'm worried that our current president is crying wolf and expecting us to all run up the hill after him. But while it's my duty as a father and a citizen to speak out, I'm not going to use my position on the council to do that, because I consider that an abuse of power," said Primack, adding that he may compromise his position in this particular instance, by slipping out during the vote, so that the council can record a unanimous vote against the war.

"Otherwise, if the vote gets recorded as 6-1 against, it will end up being all about me, the one who didn't," Primack said.

Hot Date ...

"Will President Bush's plan to use 'small' nuclear weapons against Iraq and other 'enemies' lead to the next nuclear arms race?"

That question will be discussed during a screening of an updated version of The Last Epidemic: Medical Consequences of Nuclear War.

Sadly, the film, which was produced by local film maker Eric Thiermann and edited by his father Ian 22 years ago, hardly needed any updating.

The Last Epidemic shows at 7:30pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 225 Rooney St., Santa Cruz. Call 336.2160

... Cool Date

The 10h anniversary of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the largest marine sanctuary in the nation, is upon us.

Kaitilin Gaffney of the Ocean Conservancy says the original genesis of the sanctuary was "fear of oil development" and that today's really hot issues are "marine reserves [the sanctuary does not provide protection from fishing], jet skis and cruise ships, not to mention sea walls, urban runoff and kelp harvesting."

Though the Sanctuary's actual b-day was Sept. 18, 1992, don't worry, you haven't missed the fun--it's being celebrated in Santa Cruz Sept. 28, 11am to 4pm, with an ocean fair, live sharks, children's treasure hunt, puppet show and live music. Call 420.1630 for details.

Nüz just loves juicy tips: Drop a line to 115 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, 95060, email us at , or call our hotline at 457.9000, ext 214.

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From the September 25-October 2, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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