LOS ANGELES --- Morro Bay, California medical marijuana dispensary operator Charles
Lynch finds himself caught between the old guard and the new guard.
While the dispensary he ran was fully legal under state law, he was
convicted under federal law last year and faces the prospect of decades
in jail--all for helping sick people.
Lynch is waiting on his
sentence. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently signaled that the
Obama administration would break with the Bush administration and
prosecute medical marijuana dispensary owners only if they violated
both federal and state law.
Lynch was convicted during the Bush
years, but his sentencing will occur under the new regime. So where
would that leave him on his sentencing day--a free man, a lifelong
prisoner, something else?
It turns out that the man who hold
Lynch's life in his hands isn't sure how the policy shift should affect
sentencing. U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu postponed his
decision until he learns more about the Justice Department's policy
regarding such cases.
Charles Lynch stands squarely in the middle of the nation's debate over
medical marijuana. Will Lynch be punished for following the law? Or
will he be set free from the drug war's long reach?