On November 11, Geraldton, Ontario resident Danny Ciabatti began a hunger strike for medical marijuana. Ciabatti, an artist and former ambulance driver who lives with Parkinson’s disease and severe spinal pain, is one of thousands of terminally-ill Canadians who want exemptions under Canada’s Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR), but who cannot find doctors to support their applications. Canadian doctors have refused to support MMAR applications after provincial colleges of physicians and surgeons across the country told doctors not to sign the required forms.
“This one doctor, she was backing me up,” Ciabatti told Cannabis Culture, “but when she inquired at the college, they told her she couldn’t do it anymore.”
On May 2, 2002, shortly after his doctor wimped out, Ciabatti was busted for growing medical marijuana in his basement. Forced to go to street dealers for relief, Ciabatti was arrested and charged again last summer. It was the final straw. Now, says Ciabatti, he is ready to die defending sick people’s right to cannabis.
Ciabatti’s declaration to the press reads:
“This strike will end when I get a promise from a judge that my charges will be dropped, my equipment returned and I will be allowed to cultivate and possess the amount of marijuana I require for my well-being, specifically, four grams of dry buds a day equals one ounce per week, with the necessary live plants and dry stash to maintain such requirements. Furthermore, I want a written promise from the Canadian Minister of Health that the law allowing the use of medical marijuana by terminally ill, unmanageable and chronic pain people, be brought forward and given priority. The process of obtaining a permit must be simplified. If you have a written diagnosisS you should automatically qualify to use marijuana, and the terminally ill should be exempt from annual renewal.
Currently, despite the difficulty of the application process, even the terminally ill must reapply each year to the Ministry of Health for their exemptions.
Ciabatti plans to move his protest to the federal building in Thunder Bay by November 18.
Contact Ciabatti for interviews, to give donations, or with offers of assistance at: (807) 854-0270