Governor to battle with feds over marijuana law

August 30, 2007

Ray Seva, KOB TV 4 (NM)

battle is brewing in Santa Fe over medical marijuana. An angry Governor Richardson wants the feds to leave sick New Mexicans alone and let them grow their pot.

But a Santa Fe County Commissioner is speaking out, saying he's going to fight to get rid of the medical marijuana law.

The current law shields patients from state prosecution, but not from the feds.

"I'm very concerned that the Bush administration instead of going after drug dealers, is going after people suffering from cancer, a paraplegic, most recently," said Governor Richardson.

Agents raided 44-year-old Leonard French's home near Loving on Tuesday, even though he has state permission to grow and smoke medical marijuana.

The D.E.A. says it did not know French had a medical marijuana license until after the raid.

"The Bush administration seems to be, because they're unable to go after drug dealers, they seem to be picking on people suffering from cancer. That's inexplicable to me. And I'm gonna fight them," said Governor Richardson.

Right now patients have to get the Marijuana on their own, because the State Health Department won't grow or distribute the pot, fearing federal prosecution.

Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya calls himself a strong Bill Richardson supporter, but he'll fight him every step of the way to get the law off the books.

"Morally, physically, socially this is not good policy. It's still something that is addictive. And for our youth to start getting the message that this is something that is okay, is really not a healthy message," said Montoya.

Montoya says patients can use the pill-form of the marijuana.

Governor Richardson says he'll use every legal trick in the book to fight the feds on the issue.



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