The Caine case is not the only constitutional challenge being launched
against the injustice of drug prohibition. There are two other interesting
constitutional challenges also underway, both involving Alan Young, one of
the nation’s great criminal lawyers in the field of drug prohibition.
Alan Young is a Professor of Criminal Law at Osgoode Hall Law School in
Toronto, and has also successfully represented Shakedown Street and 100%
Hemp in protecting their stores from prosecution.
One of these challenges has just begun, while the other has already
succeeded in striking a major blow for freedom, and is now in the position
of having to defend that success against the appeals of the federal
The first challenge
Umberto Iorfida was
charged under 462.2 of the criminal code
in April 1992,
while handing out legalization literature to North Toronto high school
students. Police trashed his office, confiscating photocopiers, fax
machines, and even mailing lists.
Section 462.2, passed in 1988, prohibits “any printed matter or video”
which is designed to “promote, encourage or advocate the production,
preparation or consumption of illicit drugs”.
Under section 462.2, advocating or promoting the legalization or use of
marijuana or any other drug in any way whatsoever is punishable with six
months in jail and up to $100,000 in fines.
Charges against Umberto were dropped two months later, but Umberto filed a
writ claiming that section 462.2 was unconstitutional.
With lawyers Alan Young and Edward Morgan, Umberto fought for two and a
half years in the courts before finally achieving a victory. In October
1994, judge Ellen J. MacDonald of the Ontario Court of Justice ruled that
the prohibition on pro-drug literature was unconstitutional.
This significant victory left courts and police across the country in an
unsure state. Because the decision was made in a provincial court it was
not legally binding across the nation, but it is rare for one provincial
court to overturn a constitutional decision made by another.
This confusion was resolved on September 28, 1995, when Edward Morgan
received a letter from the Attorney General’s office, stating that they
would not be pursuing an appeal of the decision made eleven months
earlier. Umberto and NORML are now working to pay off the costs of this
massive legal battle and resume regular operations.
You can send a cheque or money order, payable to NORML Canada in trust, to:
Edward Morgan, PO Box 63, #1 First Canadian Place, Toronto, Ontario, M5X
The second challenge
On May 17, 1995,
Chris Clay was charged
with possession, cultivation, and trafficking in a narcotic
because he was selling tiny pot plants at his
store “The Great Canadian Hemporium” in London, Ontario. He was also
charged with selling paraphernalia at this time, even though his store and
many others have been selling such items for over a year now.
Alan Young and Chris Clay are trying to launch constitutional challenges to
all four charges, but this will be extremely expensive and full of
risks. There is no guarantee that a judge will listen to their arguments on
any of these challenges.
Chris is selling Hemp Victory Bonds at the rate of $25 to help fund his
challenge. They are redeemable for a quarter ounce of marijuana each once
“the war is won”.
Chris Clay’s challenge provides an excellent opportunity to attack the
integrity of drug prohibition from a variety of angles. Alan and Chris want
to provide a forum for a national debate about ending the War on Drugs.
You can donate to Chris Clay’s challenge anonymously at any Royal Bank in
Canada. Just fill out the deposit slip with Transit Number 02722, Account
Number 1045889. This is a special Hemp Nation account specially set up for
Chris’ court defences.
For more information about Umberto Iorfida being charged under section 462.2 of
the criminal code,
To learn more about Chris Clay’s challenge and what happened to his