Another 14 Canadians are free to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes today ? as the government takes an epileptic [Terry Parker] to court for supressing his seizures with therapeutic pot.
Health Minister Allan Rock’s announcement yesterday in Ottawa, that 14 new exemptions have been granted under the Controlled Drugs And Substances Act, was greeted wtih cautious optimism and open cynicism by medicinal-pot activists.
“Tomorrow we’ll be announcing that 14 additional persons will be granted exemptions under the legislation? because they’re very sick or they’re dying,” Rock announced after a cabinet meeting. “They’ve satisfied us they’re legitimate cases.”
That Rock chose to scoop his own news conference a day early [a day before Terry Parker was in court]left pot activists suspicious of his motives.
The constitutionality of Ottawa’s marijuana laws will be challenged today in a Toronto court and one of the contested cases involves Toronto epileptic Terry Parker. In 1997, a lower court ruled Parker’s pot use was “therapeutic,” a ruling the Crown is appealing.
“The government’s in a very embarrassing position to have to appeal this ruling,” said Parker’s lawyer, Aaron Harnett. “Why are they taking medicine from a sick guy? So this announcement helps to take some of the smell out of the air when they go to court.”
[A note from Reverend Damuzi at Cannabis Culture:
The Federal Government is taking Terry Parker to court because they want to challenge Parker’s constitutional right to use marijuana, which he won in an Ontario lower court in 97. Exemptions through the Ministry of Health are highly controlled, presently limited to the terminally ill, and do not involve giving anyone a constitutional right to the healing herb.
If Parker wins his case, all medical users will have legal, constitutionally-guaranteed access to marijuana. The minister’s program has been around since early this year, and until the Parker case, only two people were given exemptions despite a pile of applications backing up on the minister of health’s desk.
The minister’s decision to give 14 more exemptions at the same time as the Parker trial is an undeniably political act, designed to make it seem as though the minister’s exemptions are more than just a convenient illusion. Presently, those with Glaucoma, MS , epilepsy, and a host of other ailments are still being arrested and prosecuted for growing and using medical marijuana]