It is with great happiness that I bring good news in regards to the Vancouver Island Compassion Society (VICS) charter challenge of our federal medical cannabis program. Our counsel, Kirk Tousaw, had a meeting with the Crown attorneys and an acquittal was granted to Michael Swallow, one of the two defendants in the case, for lack of evidence. After the disturbing news that our original judge had suffered a heart attack and died, this is a welcome turn of events.
Furthermore, it appears that we’ll be able to start the case where we left off, rather than starting the whole thing again (which is apparently the norm when a judge dies). Thankfully, this saves us much time and trouble,salvaging much of the hard work and expense that we’ve already put into this trial. We believe this is definitely the best opportunity that we have to both strike down the governments monopoly on production and distribution of medical marijuana in Canada, as well legalizing the good work of community-based dispensaries like the VICS.
Unfortunately, our work in not done yet. Mat Beren, the co-accused in the case, now stands alone facing production charges of over 900 plants, all of which were being grown organically for the members of the VICS. We have two more weeks of court scheduled for February 2008, and will likely schedule another 2-4 weeks before this important constitutional challenge is done.
With court fees close to $200,000, it would be an understatement to suggest that Mat and the VICS still need your help. We have raised about $70,000 to cover the high cost of this litigation — to the many kind Canadians who have been so generous with their support, please accept thanks and appreciation on behalf of myself, Michael Swallow, Mat Beren and the 720 members of the VICS! However, we’ll need further financial assistance if we’re to win this fight on behalf of all critically and chronically ill Canadians.
No matter what, 2008 promises to bring a conclusion to this case, and I’m extremely hopeful that we’ll soon see a more compassionate, common sense, and community-based approach to medical cannabis access. However, this can’t happen without your support, and every little bit counts. If you can help, please send a money order or check made out to the VICS to:
130 – 2017a Cadboro Bay Rd.
Thank you for your support!
With kind regards, and great optimism for the coming year,
Director – Vancouver Island Compassion Society
Graduate Research Fellow – Center for Addictions Research of B.C.