This is a potentially big development: U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu asked prosecutors for a written response from the Justice
Department about its position on medical marijuana prosecutions in light of recent comments from Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.
Holder said last week that the Justice Department under President Obama had no plans to prosecute dispensary owners who operated within their state’s law.
Wu said he did not believe that any change in policy would affect the conviction of Charles Lynch, 47.
But the judge said he wanted to consider any new information about the policy before imposing sentence. [Los Angeles Times]
Even as the new administration moves towards ending federal interference with state medical marijuana laws, Lynch’s prosecution remains a national controversy and a harsh reminder that the war on medical marijuana continues to claim casualties.
Attorney General Holder has only one logical choice here: tell Judge Wu to send Charlie Lynch home. It’s the only option that would be morally and politically consistent with the administration’s decision to respect state medical marijuana laws. Holder has been handed an opportunity to intervene and if he lets this man go to prison, he makes a mockery of everything he’s said about medical marijuana policy.
This is yet another important test that will tell us a great deal about the new administration’s commitment to cleaning up the mess created by a decade-long war against medical marijuana. Thus far, Obama’s approach has been encouraging and I’m optimistic that justice will be done in the Lynch trial as well.
It should be abundantly clear at this point that the best way to avoid bad publicity with regards to medical marijuana policy is to support patients and providers.