June 1,00
By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Source: Arizona Daily Star
****
The new leader of the drive for medical marijuana has more than just a passing experience with the issue.
Mike Walz has a law practice in Phoenix built solely on defending people accused of cannabis-related crimes. And many of his clients are people who say they need the weed for medical reasons.
In fact, Walz says, he takes those kinds of cases for free.
Now Walz finds himself in the middle of a political firestorm, championing a change in Arizona law that its opponents say would give legal immunity to people who sell drugs to children.
Walz acknowledges that the initiative may be badly worded. He insists, though, that no judge will read the law as broadly as critics charge.
That won't stop Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley from hammering away at the measure — assuming it even gets to the ballot. Romley said he may challenge the maneuver that changed sponsorship of the initiative from The People Have Spoken to Walz's group, known as Plants Are Medicine.
The initiative is designed to implement a 1996 voter-approved initiative to allow doctors to prescribe otherwise illegal drugs to seriously and terminally ill patients.
What happens now is that Walz and his organization must count the signatures to determine if they need more to qualify for the ballot. The measure needs 101,762 signatures by July 6.

Phoenix, Arizona
The Arizona Daily Star Online