Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

September 20, 2010
'Anti-stoner' pot advocate tends garden and counts the cookies

PK_WAMM 0044.JPGMike Corral sees himself as a master marijuana grower and an "anti-stoner."

Corral, who co-founded Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana with wife Valerie Corral in 1993, is the ever-present teacher in garden for the Santa Cruz cannabis-growing commune.

He oversees WAMM members - cancer patients, AIDS sufferers and others with profound medical conditions - in hands-on work in growing the cannabis they use to relieve and soothe their symptoms.

WAMM and its poignant community for the disabled, sick and dying is profiled in Sunday's edition of the Sacramento Bee. To read the article, click here.

While WAMM and its legal fight against the federal government stirred attention for the California marijuana movement, Mike Corral has found a secondary mission: winning renewed respect for outdoor marijuana growing.

He is dismissive of booming medical marijuana dispensaries hyping high-octane indoor weed. He blames their marketing of exotic indoor strains for promoting a stoner culture that undermines medical use and insults the purity of outdoor cultivation.

"The clubs have a marketing campaign: Outdoor (marijuana) is bad," Corall said. "But indoors is more costly, more labor intensive. And to me, there is 500 years of history of growing outdoors."

And so Corral and WAMM members cultivate their marijuana in on a coastal mountain terrace outside Santa Cruz. He says they plant seedlings in greenhouses before the "spring moon," put plants into the ground "before the summer solstice" and harvest "before the fall moon."

While marijuana stores proliferate in California cities, often offering several dozen designer pot strains, Wamm has just four: a sativa plant called "African Queen," a Purple Indica plant and two indica- or sativa-dominant hybrids.

The master gardener rarely tests the final product.

Corral is registered as a caregiver for his wife, who has a medical marijuana recommendation for seizures she began suffering after a car accident. But he says he has no medical need himself and generally isn't eager to join anyone's smoking circle.

"I'm a purist. I don't like the idea of someone passing a joint to someone," Corral said.

The anti-stoner says he even occasionally chides some WAMM members if he thinks they may have consumed enough.

"I'll see somebody take some (marijuana) cookies and I'll ask, 'Why did you take two?' If you took two to alleviate your symptoms, fine. But can they be alleviated with a cookie - or half a cookie?"

Pictured: Mike Corral in the WAMM garden. Paul Kitagaki Jr./pkitagaki@sacbee.com

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