Ray Turmel convicted

Prohibition hangs by a thread in Canada, as at least four constitutional challenges to pot laws are currently being heard in courts across the land. In the US, battles continue between the states and the federal government for the fate of medical pot. The reverberations are felt as far away as the Vatican, where Pope John Paul II recently rejected legalization, issuing a declaration late in 2001, calling the marijuana and drug economy “death trafficking.” For cannabis users, it is a slap in the face.
Doesn’t the Pope remember when the Catholic sacrament of alcohol was prohibited in the early 1900’s? Are we still living in the era of the witch hunts, when one’s choice of sacrament or medicine meant facing extinction at the hands of storm troopers with a papal blessing?

Ray Turmel and wife Denise Beaudoin: judge refuses to let them discuss med-pot.Ray Turmel and wife Denise Beaudoin: judge refuses to let them discuss med-pot.Ray Turmel convicted

Ray Turmel grew marijuana for his wife, Denise Beaudoin, at their home in Hull, Quebec until he was busted on July 19, 2000. Denise lives with chronic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and neuralgia, along with gastrointestinal disorders and internal bleeding from the pharmaceutical medicines she has used to control the pain. On November 19, 2001 a Quebec court told Ray Turmel that his constitutional challenge to Canada’s med-pot laws was dismissed, and that he would have to face criminal charges. Then on December 4, a jury found him guilty of cultivation.

During the jury trial, Ray Turmel could not provide the expert testimony he needed, because legal aid refused to pay for it. The judge refused to allow Turmel to talk about his wife’s med-pot application that had been turned down by Health Canada, refused to allow Turmel to make a medical necessity defense, and refused to allow him to inform the jury of their right to “nullify” the law. Hotly contested by courts the world over, “jury nullification” is the legal right of juries in most countries to find a defendant not guilty ? despite obviously having broken the law ? on the basis that the law itself is unjust. Medical necessity is a constitutional argument that if someone needs a particular medicine for the sake of their health, then that medicine cannot be made illegal for them to use. For these reasons among others, Ray Turmel is appealing the conviction.

“You remember Robert Latimer,” said Turmel, “the guy who put his daughter in the van and gassed her because of the excruciating pain she suffered from multiple sclerosis. They used the Latimer case against me a lot. His necessity defense was overturned because the judge said that the harm to his daughter by killing her was worse than her living with the pain. I am arguing that I did not kill my wife; I grew marijuana for her. So the proportionality of harm weighs in favour of me. If Latimer’s daughter was smoking pot, maybe she would be alive right now.”Ray Turmel and wife Denise Beaudoin: judge refuses to let them discuss med-pot.

? Ray Turmel: tel 819-423-6279



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