Agents with a regional drug task force raided Leonard French’s home in southeastern New Mexico and seized several marijuana plants, sparking the latest debate over the state’s new medical marijuana law.
Wheelchair-bound and suffering from chronic pain and muscle spasms, French says he’s certified by the state Health Department to possess and smoke marijuana. The 44-year-old lost the use of his legs following a motorcycle crash about 20 years ago.
On Tuesday, French allowed the agents into his home in Malaga â€” just north of the New Mexico-Texas border â€” 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.”
And to his credit, Gov. Bill Richardson said something about it…
The governor, who is running for president, pledged to fight for the medical-marijuana program he helped get through the New Mexico Legislature, saying it’s a matter of state sovereignty. “We’re preparing legal options,” he said, though he didn’t specify what those options are.
All eight Democratic presidential candidates have pledged to stop federal raids on medical marijuana patients in the 12 states with laws allowing the use of marijuana to treat medical conditions.
Earlier this month Richardson sent Bush an open letter urging the administration to change its “misguided policy and wasted resources spent to intimidate states trying to implement medical marijuana programs.”
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