(A Thursday night update from Alison Myrden follows after the article.) Tom Shapiro of Regina, Saskatchewan was robbed of his medicine by cops of the Regina Integrated Drug Unit on Tuesday, January 31.
Medical marijuana is ostensibly legal in Canada, but a person desiring legal immunity from prosecution under the Controlled Drugs & Substances Act is required to have a license issued by Health Canada.
Tom is a licensee who was permitted to grow 25 plants for the daily provision of 5 grams of dried cannabis to treat his Acquired Immunity Deficiency, which Tom has had since 1990. His doctors think Tom is a walking miracle.
?Cannabis has kept me alive and healthy,? says former Health Canada licensee #PL-TMS-121597025255-03-A.
?My license expired on October 12, 2005, but I had my application in on time. I sent it by Purolator and I have an acknowledgment that Health Canada received it October 11, 2005. But they have not yet renewed it because of a number of stumbling blocks put in my way. After they received my renewal on October 11, they said they had lost the photos I had sent for my laminated ID card. I sent a second set in immediately, signed by my current doctor on the reverse to authenticate my identity.
?Health Canada called me back in early November, asking why the signature of the doctor on the photos was different from the doctor on the application. I said my original doctor who had signed my application 18 months prior retired. Health Canada said I had to submit a new application with the same doctor on the application and the photos.
?I got that done as fast as possible. Health Canada reminded me that since my license had expired, I could no longer legally grow or possess. They said, ‘it will come eventually’, but until then I could not grow or possess. This was madness, of course ? what was I supposed to do?
“Then Health Canada called up my doctor and began a long extended correspondence with him as to why he recommended an increase in my dosage. Currently I can grow 25 plants, but I grow a low-yielding strain ? quite wonderful for me, but I was hoping to increase my dosage from 5 grams to 10 grams daily as that?s what?s really required. So this doctor recommended an increase from 5 to 10 grams, which held up the reissue of my license.
?I continued to grow what I required and on Tuesday January 31, 2006, the police came in and took the 8 mature Old Faithful plants ? only a few days from harvest ? that you can see in the photos. There were 8 plants ready, 8 in vegetative state, and 5 cuttings. The police listed the number of plants seized at 16, well below my license limits.
?The police are charging me with Cultivation of a controlled substance. Health Canada said my license will finally be here in the next 72 hours; but they also said they cannot help me with my criminal charge. I no longer have any medicine and I earn a music technical soundman?s wage, so it will be difficult accessing the cannabis that works for me. Regina?s market price for 5 grams daily is $60 ? $2,000 a month!
“As a person with AIDS, this has been a difficult drain on my health and spirit, and even if I rebuild immediately it will be 8 weeks before I can harvest any usable cannabis. They also took all my lights (two 400-watt, and a 1000-watt), timers and mechanical aspects of my garden.”
Tom is frustrated and upset. He?s lost his medicine, his garden equipment, his privacy, and he?s facing criminal charges. And he still doesn?t have his license Health Canada keeps promising him.
Contact a bud-less Tom Shapiro at tm.Shapiro@accesscomm.ca.
Update from Alison Myrden on Thursday night
Just got a call from Tom.
Tom was still doing interviews while we spoke. CTV News followed him LIVE out of the Police Station and once outside asked him to “light up” for the News.
Tom’s response was “I’d love to but remember, they took it all?” The interview went from there to LIVE TV…
Once returned home, Tom continued to do Interviews.
He spent the last three hours in a Jail Cell without access to water or his medication. He didn’t take his pills with him, as he thought he would be in and out of the Jail House in no time…
Tom was served with paperwork and charged with Cultivation.
His next Court date is Tuesday March 7th, 2006 at 9:30 am at the Provincial Court House located at 1815 Smith Street, Regina, Saskatchewan.
PLEASE be there to support Tom and his family on March 7/06.
We’re counting on you.
Love and a squish,