In 1974, Valerie Corral began treating her seizures with homegrown cannabis. Forty-one years later, the iconic organization she co-founded to help others heal with marijuana is in danger of closing permanently.
The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz, California, provides medical cannabis to seriously ill patients at little or no cost. Founded in 1993 by Valerie and Mike Corral, WAMM functions as a cooperative: Instead of purchasing marijuana like one would at a traditional dispensary, the collective’s 850 members receive low- or zero-cost bud, depending on need and ability to donate. Those who can’t afford to donate are encouraged to volunteer for the collective in exchange for access to cannabis grown in WAMM’s garden. That can mean helping harvest the plants, filling cannabis capsules, providing end-of-life care for the seriously ill or organizing a yard sale to raise funds. The nonprofit operates entirely off of donations from past and present members.