Canada’s quintessential cannabis lawyer Alan Young is backing two separate medical marijuana challenges, in an attempt to bring the issue before the Supreme Court of Canada. He also hopes the ensuing publicity will help to “keep the issue alive in the public imagination.”
Lynn Harichy: MS on trial
The first case involves Lynn Harichy, a multiple sclerosis patient who met Young when she testified during the Chris Clay constitutional challenge. Harichy hoped Justice McCart would provide exemptions for medical users, and when the decision was finally delivered she felt betrayed.
In a very public arrest, she launched her own legal challenge by attempting to smoke a joint at the London, Ontario police station. An officer seized the spliff before she could light up, but she was charged nonetheless, and Professor Young will begin his arguments April 27.
Jim Wakeford: AIDS suit
Young will return to court less than a week later to present the opening arguments in Jim Wakeford’s civil suit. Wakeford, a Toronto AIDS patient, finds cannabis extremely helpful for a variety of symptoms caused by both the disease and the 40 prescription pills he takes daily.
Wakeford finally decided to sue the government after being continually stonewalled. “I’ve been talking to them for more than a year,” said Wakeford. “I don’t know how much time I have. I want legal, safe and affordable medical marijuana. I should not have to deal with the black market.”
Grant Kreiger: Importation & Harassment
Like Wakeford, multiple sclerosis sufferer Grant Krieger is fighting for a legal supply of marijuana. In an attempt to force the issue, he flew to Amsterdam in May 1996 to obtain a legal prescription, and then tried to return to Canada with almost a kilogram of medicinal pot.
Kreiger was detained at the airport by Dutch authorities who claimed he hadn’t filled out enough paperwork. The escapade drew international media attention.
When Krieger arrived back in Saskatchewan, he discovered that the disgruntled Regina drug squad had raided his home. Three ounces of pot were seized, and both he and his wife, Marie, were charged with possession and “trafficking a narcotic”.
Before last month’s preliminary hearing, prosecutors offered a “real sweet deal” that would have brought a discharge, but the Kriegers refused and announced a charter challenge. Using local counsel, their trial is expected to begin this September.
Donations can be sent to any of the following:
Professor Alan Young, c/o the Organic Traveller: 343 Richmond St, London, Ontario, N6A 3C2;
tel (416) 736-5595
Lynn Harichy, (519) 474-3982
Jim Wakeford, (416) 922-3337
Grant Krieger, (306) 547-4734