Last January, in a letter to the Canadian Cannabis Coalition ( a coalition of compassion clubs), the Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock wrote that the thousands of years of medical cannabis use by cultures all over the world “is not considered sufficient to demonstrate safety and efficacy.” Calling cannabis’ therapeutic benefits “heavily anecdotal,” Rock asserted that pot is “an illegal substance with no approved therapeutic uses anywhere in the world,” (CC#28, Canada’s med-pot push). When Ministry of Health spokesperson Anne Tremblay testified at the case of medical pot user Jim Wakeford on March 2, she monkeyed the official line, saying that “cannabis has no therapeutic value.”
On March 2, Ontario resident Jim Wakeford ? who lives with AIDS and was Canada’s first legal medical pot exemptee ? was arguing before the Ontario Court of Appeal that the limitations on medical exemptions made them practically useless. Three hours later his medical grow-op was raided by cops.
Police say they raided Wakeford’s grow because Wakeford had exceeded the limitation of seven plants specified in his exemption. Wakeford was growing about 200 smallish clones, and is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking. Police took all but seven plants, even though Wakeford claimed he was growing the extra cannabis for other exemptees suffering from MS, cancer and AIDS.
Wakeford’s lawyer is legendary pot-defender Alan Young.
“You would have thought the police would have waited to see what the courts decided about the limitations on exemptions,” exclaimed a shocked Young. “Our argument was that four to seven plant limits render the exemption rights illusory. The police knew this is what the Wakeford appeal was concerning? This case has significance that extends far past the medical marijuana issue. It is about the extent to which a court has the power and authority to intervene and supervise an incorrigible bureaucracy.”
Wakeford’s case before the court also addressed the broader issue of how sick people get cannabis. If exemptees lack the expertise to grow, are too sick to grow, run out of their supply, or are waiting for a crop, they should be able to purchase from dealers or receive pot from caregivers, and those people should also be protected by the law. It is a pressing issue for medical cannabis exemptees everywhere.
Exemptees Stephen Bacon and Catherine Devry provided affidavits to the court in Wakeford’s case, complaining about continued harassment by police who stole their medicine from them simply because they hadn’t grown it themselves.
“I had two affidavits involved,” said Bacon, who uses cannabis to treat hepatitis. “One for the raid last summer when I lost my medical pot grow operation to a police raid. I also had one for a caregiver of mine, who has a federal exemption himself, and was pulled over in Toronto last month by police who tore his car apart for an hour and a half. They found nothing, so they gave him $300 worth of phony traffic charges. Catherine Devry submitted an affidavit on how police stole medicine from her that was sent from Hilary Black’s Vancouver Compassion Club.”
“This is a setback and it sucks,” Wakeford told the press afterward. “But I’m alive and I’ll survive this.”
? Eastern Canadian exemptees’ website: www.themarijuanamission.com
? Alan Young: tel (416) 736-5595
? Canadian Cannabis Coalition: PO Box 1481, Grand Forks, BC, V0H 1H0; email firstname.lastname@example.org; website www.drugsense.org/ccc