A federal judge in Los Angeles yesterday postponed the sentencing of a man convicted of running a medical marijuana dispensary and asked the Department of Justice to clarify its revised position on such cases, the New York Times reports. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder said federal authorities would not seek to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries if the operations complied with state and local laws.
That was a departure from the Bush administration policy that federal narcotics laws held sway. California is one of 13 states that allow the growth and sales of medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. “The judge said [Holder’s] statement raises more questions than it answers,” said Reuven Cohen, a lawyer for Charles Lynch. “He said he needed an explanation, and he needed it from the Department of Justice, not the local prosecutor.” Last August, a jury convicted Lynch on five counts related to running a dispensary and selling medical marijuana to customers under 21, considered minors under a federal statute that prohibits the sale of marijuana and other narcotics to minors. He faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison.