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In sentencing a California pot shop owner to a year behind bars on federal charges of cultivating and selling marijuana, a U.S. district court judge based in Los Angeles suggested that the federal government change marijuana's outlaw status.
Judge George H. Wu was very sympathetic to the plight of 47-year-old Charles Lynch, who was convicted in 2008 after federal authorities moved against his Morro Bay dispensary despite his bending over backwards to abide by California's medical marijuana law. "Individuals such as Lynch are caught in the middle of the shifting positions of governmental authorities" vis-a-vis pot, the judge wrote.
Lynch was also caught in between presidential administrations: After Barack Obama took office he ordered the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to stand down on enforcing federal drug laws in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Wu wrote that (PDF) " ... much of the problems [in the Lynch case] could be ameliorated...by the reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I," which is the government's highest, outlaw-drug category.