Pubdate: Fri, 02 Jun 2000
Source: Arizona Republic (AZ)
Copyright: 2000 The Arizona Republic
Contact:  200 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Author: Howard Fischer


PHOENIX - The new leader of the drive for medical marijuana has more
than just a passing experience with the issue.

Mike Walz has a law practice in Phoenix built solely on defending
people accused of cannabis-related crimes. And many of his clients are
people who say they need the weed for medical reasons.

In fact, Walz says, he takes those kinds of cases for

Now Walz finds himself in the middle of a political firestorm,
championing a change in Arizona law that its opponents say would give
legal immunity to people who sell drugs to children.

Walz acknowledges that the initiative may be badly worded. He insists,
though, that no judge will read the law as broadly as critics charge.

That won't stop Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley from hammering
away at the measure -- assuming it even gets to the ballot. Romley said
he may challenge the maneuver that changed sponsorship of the
initiative from The People Have Spoken to Walz's group, known as
Plants Are Medicine.

The initiative is designed to implement a 1996 voter-approved
initiative to allow doctors to prescribe otherwise illegal drugs to
seriously and terminally ill patients.

What happens now is that Walz and his organization must count the
signatures to determine if they need more to qualify for the ballot.
The measure needs 101,762 signatures by July 6.
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MAP posted-by: Derek Rea