by Ted Smith
From the Cannabis Digest archives: Fall 2004
Relief swept through the room when the judicial stay was quickly read in court record this fall, validating the bold persistence of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada over the past 8 years.
On Tuesday Sept. 7, 2004, Madame Justice Chaperon agreed with defence lawyer Robert Moore-Stewart and granted an acquittal to myself, Leon “Ted” Smith, and Colby Budda, for working at the CBC of C headquarters when the police came in the doors on Jan. 3, 2002.
Significant precedent setting circumstances in this court case should influence further developments in the fight to firmly establish cannabis in the medicine cabinet.
It was successfully argued that people who find themselves afflicted with diseases or disabilities, which are permanent and physical, should not be required to obtain a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis before gaining access to cannabis.
This means that approximately one million Canadians, and those that supply them, should receive court protection to use and grow cannabis, though police still enforce the law in most occasions.
Another important precedent is that while I admitted that I use cannabis to deal with stress, bouts of depression and an alcohol problem, I am otherwise relatively healthy and do not qualify for membership within the CBCof C. I testified that no one at the club earns more than $10/hr., and Health Canada allows healthy individuals to have legal protection as caregivers under the current regulatory scheme. The judge recognized that it is reasonable to assume that healthy citizens who have a special ability in assisting in the creation of good medical cannabis products should be allowed to earn a living while working in the field.
There are still two outstanding trials concerning warrants issued for the store on March 21, 2002 and Feb. 19, 2003. Given the crown did not appeal Justice Chaperon’s decision and both raids occurred for no other reason than the club was in operation, it is extremely doubtful these trials will ever occur? As is often the case, though, the government will probably not drop the charges until the day of the trials.
The March 2002 raid, when I was arrested again is scheduled for early Jan. 2005 and the Feb. 2003 raid with Scott and Ryan is set for March 2005. (UPDATE: all charges were beaten)
All raids occurred before Health Canada began distributing the poor quality Flin Flon cannabis last summer. This means the club was not operating in competition with a legal, reliable source of the herb during any of the raids. It should not be assumed that if a single, legally sanctioned source of cannabis was available that all other sources intended for medical purposes become criminal. Until government sanctioned cannabis products achieve reliable quality and availability, constitutional guarantees sufficiently protect medical suppliers and consumers enough to ensure the establishment of authentic ‘compassion’ clubs.
Focus now shifts to cases involving medical grow operations and court cases involving edible cannabis products. Several groups across the country have been busted with large operations intended for medical users. The MMAR currently restrict growers in many unreasonable ways this can only be challenged in court. Proving that specialists are needed to grow good medicine in large, controlled environments and provide quality cannabis products at fair prices is an important step in further changing the laws.
Thanks to Dr. James Geiwitz for testifying in our court case and to everyone who came as a witness.
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