Michigan voters legalized medical marijuana last year. Rules for the program went into effect Saturday. In Los Angeles the law remains an obstacle but a federal judge is unhappy with the law. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is opposed but three Democratic candidates for district attorney have declared in favor of legalization for patients.
Patients in Michigan can apply for a state-issued ID card to protect them from arrest for growing and using marijuana to treat pain and other symptoms stemming from illnesses such as such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. A doctor’s recommendation is required.
Source: Detroit Free Press freep.com Yesterday in Los Angeles, sentencing of Charles Lynch, a key figure in the national debate over medical marijuana, was postponed. LA Times reports that a federal judge said "he was inclined to impose a more lenient sentence than the five years required by federal sentencing guidelines, but questioning whether he had the authority to do so."
"'If I could find a way out, I would,' U.S. District Judge George H. Wu said. He gave lawyers in the case until June 2 to file briefs regarding the impending sentence of Charles Lynch."
On Tuesday (April 22), New York Daily News reported similar developments:
The three Democratic candidates for Manhattan district attorney said Tuesday they back the legalization of medical marijuana.
"Doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana for patients with serious health conditions - or side effects, like those from chemotherapy - when they determine that it is medically appropriate," said DA hopeful Richard Aborn in response to a Daily News inquiry.
"Patients, in turn, who receive their doctor's prescription, should be able to obtain marijuana, with appropriate controls to ensure safety and prevent criminal trafficking," Aborn added.
Leslie Crocker Snyder and Cy Vance, the other two Democratic candidates, also voiced support.
In Albany, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and state Sen. Thomas Duane, both Manhattan Democrats, introduced legislation that would protect New York patients from arrest for using medical marijuana.
"It is cruel to make seriously ill patients criminals for relying on medical marijuana for relief when their doctor recommends it," said Gottfried, who has been pushing the issue for more than a decade.
Medical marijuana sales are not expected to sprout quickly
Justice Department's decision not to go after legal California dispensaries is not seen as a broad endorsement, especially when local communities ban or limit them.
By Catherine Saillant, LA Times 8:41 PM PDT, April 24, 2009