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On March 20th, 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments for and against medical cannabis derivative products becoming legally available to authorized patients.  The courtroom was filled with supporters while many others watched in the overflow rooms and on the CPAC live stream.  The entire proceeding was recorded and is available to view online on the Cannabis Digest Youtube page. Floating on the screen during the webcast was “Her Majesty the Queen vs. Owen Edward Smith”. Despite this sport scoreboard like opposition displayed for the audience at home, Queen Elizabeth II had about as much influence on the unfolding of our case as the Unicorn on the coat of arms above the judges heads.

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from an image by Gary Wintle

However, If she knew more about this situation, I doubt that Her Royal Highness would concur with her counsel. If only in the privacy of her conscience, I’m sure she would agree that to make the contents of the teabag legal, but prohibit the tea is not a sensible restriction. Her great grandmother Queen Victoria is known to have used a cannabis tincture prescribed by her royal physician. The prosecutor for the crown, Paul W. Riley was recently awarded with the ‘Queens Counsel’ distinction, allowing him to wear a silk robe in court. Although he looked good, the Judges expressed that his arguments were composed of “lawyer words” and incomprehensible lines of reasoning.

I was born and raised in England so I decided it would be proper to write to the Queen and inform her of how her symbolic role was being represented to sick and disabled Canadians.

Your Majesty,

I am writing to you today as a British citizen living in Canada about a serious matter of dignity that threatens permanently disabled and diseased individuals. There are tens of thousands of Canadian patients whose maladies have exhausted the faculties of conventional medicine and for whom medical cannabis has been prescribed. These patients are only permitted this plant in it’s dry form and are prohibited from producing any other forms from it.

In 2009 I was arrested and charged for producing cannabis based medicinal products for these sick and disable people. In response, I sought legal protection by raising a challenge based on the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms that you signed into law the year I was born. This challenge succeeded in 2012 and I was soon-after acquitted of all charges. An appeal was launched by the government, which was ruled in my favour in 2014. In response to another appeal, I recently attended the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.

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CPAC screen capture

During the nationally broadcast hearing in the Supreme Court of Canada, the subtitle bar read Her Majesty the Queen Vs. Owen Edward Smith.

As I wait for a decision from Canada’s highest court, I would like to explain my position in hopes of contributing to your understanding of this particular issue. Patients in Canada who are permitted dried cannabis are at risk of being arrested and jailed for making anything out of it. Take a cup of tea for example. After placing the herb into a teabag and lowering it into the teapot, the tea that is poured into the teacup is prohibited. I am sure you would agree that to drink out of the teapot is not common sense, but that is the law in Canada.

It is the law that the dried herb be consumed in it’s entirety. This goes against the established botanical opinion that this enforces the unnecessary consumption of contaminations that are a serious concern of critically ill patients. Patients with cancer, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, neuropathic pain and life-threatening seizures who find relief using medical cannabis cannot legally make or obtain the suitable medicinal products that will help them to sleep through the night. The government has asked that the court overturn the two previous rulings to send me back to face another trial.

I was raised to have the compassion that would lead me, if necessary, to risk my freedom to help those less fortunate. Although we are opposed in the public eye, it is my sincere belief that as a symbol of the kind-hearted people of England, you would see my point of view.

I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient subject.

Owen Edward Smith

 

If you would like to write a letter to Queen Elizabeth, Post to:

Her Majesty the Queen,
Buckingham Palace, London
SW1A 1AA,
United Kingdom