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Drug Bust Sparks Questions Over Laws

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Agents with a regional drug task force raided Leonard French’s home in southeastern New Mexico on Tuesday and seized several marijuana plants.

But the wheelchair-bound man said he’s certified by the state Health Department to possess and smoke marijuana for medical reasons. The 44-year-old lost the use of his legs about 20 years ago as the result of a motorcycle crash and now suffers from chronic pain and muscle spasms.

French allowed the agents into his home in Malaga, just north of the New Mexico-Texas border, because he said he believed he was doing nothing wrong. He had worked with his doctor and the state to get permission to have marijuana.

“I’m kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he told Albuquerque television station KOB-TV on Tuesday. “It makes me feel like the state says, ‘Here you go. Here’s your license to drive,’ and the first time I left the driveway, they took my car away.”

While no charges have been filed against French, the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force said federal drug charges are possible.

Allan Oliver, a spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson, said authorities targeting a paraplegic man suffering from a spinal cord injury is “a policy without compassion.”

“As long as Mr. French was within the limits of the medical marijuana state law, we urge the (Drug Enforcement Administration) not to prosecute him,” Oliver said late Tuesday. “U.S. attorneys have their hands full with real drug cases and border violations, and can’t afford to waste taxpayer dollars to prosecute individuals who are critically ill or suffering from debilitating conditions.”

The task force stated in a news release that agents did not know French had state permission to use marijuana until after the raid.

Deborah Busemeyer, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico Department of Health, confirmed that officers called the agency after the raid to verify the man’s state-issued marijuana identification card. Each card has the department’s telephone number and a special code.

“This is a sad story because we want patients who need medical marijuana to have it,” she said. “A lot of these people have chronic pain and other illnesses, and this is their only relief.”

A state law that took effect this summer allows the use of marijuana for pain or other symptoms of debilitating illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS and certain spinal cord injuries.

The department has been certifying patients as eligible to possess marijuana. That protects the individuals from state prosecution, but leaves them to find their own supply of marijuana — potentially growing it themselves or obtaining it from friends or drug dealers.

Busemeyer said 38 patients have been approved to participate in the program since the law took effect July 1.

She stressed the state law does not protect those in the program from federal prosecution.

“Some patients are nervous about federal prosecution,” she said. “Other states (with medical marijuana laws) have experienced that federal agencies haven’t gone after patients. But again, we can’t provide protection against federal law.”

New Mexico is the 12th state to legalize marijuana for certain medical uses, but it’s the only one where the law calls for state-licensed production and distribution of the drug.

The department announced earlier this month that it would not implement the law’s provisions for the agency to oversee the production and distribution of marijuana to eligible patients because of concerns over the potential for federal prosecution against state employees.

Richardson, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, has ordered the department to resume planning for a medical marijuana program, and a public hearing on the matter is planned this fall.

French is apparently not the first person in the state’s medical marijuana program to catch the attention of law enforcement. Busemeyer said a similar incident occurred recently in another part of the state, but she could not provide details.

Law enforcement agencies have asked the department if it could inform them about patients who are certified to have marijuana, but Busemeyer said doing so would violate federal patient privacy laws.




News Hawk- User http://www.420Magazine.com
Source: FreeNewMexican.com
Contact: Contact us at the Santa Fe New Mexican
Copyright: 2007, Santa Fe New Mexican
Website: Medical Marijuana: Drug bust sparks questions over law
 

zolar

New Member
wonder how many *edit dealers they ignored to go after the guy in the wheel chair......
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Frog

New Member
It was only a matter of days after Gov. Bill Richardson
sent the letter to Bush.
August 17, 2007
Richardson to GW: End Heartless Medical Marijuana Policy
Body: Governor Bill Richardson Urges Bush Administration to End Heartless Medical Marijuana Policy
Governor Also Directs Health Department to Resume Planning for Medical Marijuana Program

They don't have clubs, yet :3:

FEDs flexin' on a new state with legal medUse.

Difference is this Gov. is standin' up, he could be a good VP (smrk)
 
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