Dec 10

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Dec 10/97
Judge rules marijuana laws unconstitutional

TORONTO (CP) _ An Ontario judge ruled today that part of Canada’s marijuana law is unconstitutional.

    Judge Patrick Sheppard ruled that certain sections of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act are unconstitutional in cases where marijuana is used for medically-approved purposes.

    Sheppard stayed charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana against 42 year-old Terry Parker, an epileptic who was charged in July 1996

    But Sheppard convicted Parker of trafficking marijuana.

    The judge ordered police to return 71 pot plants seized from Parker, who argued he needs marijuana to control epileptic seizures.

    Sheppard said Parker’s illness is best controlled with a combination of prescribed medication and smoking marijuana. Depriving Parker of marijuana is unconstitutional, he ruled.

    Extensions should be made to the law for people who use marijuana for medically-approved purposes he said.

    The Crown wants the ruling to apply to Parker alone.

    Parker won a landmark ruling 10 years ago when he was acquitted of a   possession charge. The acquittal was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal a year later.

Eugene Oscapella Tel: (613) 238-5909
Barrister and Solicitor Fax: (613) 238-2891
Ottawa, Canada

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