Pot charge against Vietnam veteran illustrates confusion with medical marijuana law

Danielle Salisbury | Jackson Citizen Patriot Danielle Salisbury | Jackson Citizen Patriot

CITIZEN PATRIOT | NICK DENTAMAROGary Muntz is a cancer patient and veteran of the Vietnam War. He was charged with a drug crime for violating the medicinal marijuana law.

First, it was post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by his service in the Vietnam War. Then came two bouts with throat cancer, which left him without a voice box.

Now, 61-year-old Gary Muntz has a new ailment — lymphoma, a slow-moving cancer of the lymph nodes.

He speaks only with the aid of a mechanical device pressed tightly to his neck. Long periods outside his home require a wheelchair, and he often cannot sleep.

Marijuana helps.

It relaxes him, Muntz said. It wards off the nightmares of his childhood, of his time as a paratrooper in Vietnam. It eases pain that sometimes prevents him from getting out of bed.

Michigan voters approved the state’s medical marijuana law for people like Muntz, who has a card authorizing him to use the drug for medicinal purposes, said his lawyer, Robert Gaecke.

“It was designed for people who really are suffering, that you can see, and this guy was it,” Gaecke said.

Muntz, however, was charged with a felony drug crime for violating the law.

His case illustrates the muddle surrounding the 2008 voter-enacted legislation and the uncertainty that police and prosecutors face about how to enforce it.

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http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2010/12/pot_charge_against_vietnam_vet.html