In loving memory of my old time friend Marc Paquette (1955-2016) who passed away at the age of 60.
My name is Johnny Dupuis, and I knew Marc Paquette very well. It is incredibly hard for me to write this piece, as it makes me feel pretty sad. I first met Marc in the early 2000s at his Hawkesbury home accompanied by a few other activists. For those who might not know, Marc was granted his first exemption in 1999 because he was suffering from fibromyalgia and hepatitis C. Back then, it was extremely difficult to get an exemption to grow and possess marijuana for medical purposes. I would say that Marc truly became an activist when Health Canada failed to renew his license. Unfortunately, there was no similar case law to rely on except for the Parker case. Quite understandably, Marc was furious that the liberal government could oppress patients by putting them in a situation where they could be sent to jail. Tired of being very anxious and worried for his personal security and those of patients, he finally grabbed the bull by the horns and appealed before the Federal Court, and he won. His case had also been widely covered in the media. Although Marc was pretty ill at the time, he still managed to find a way to make a change.
While he was a real activist, Marc was also a man of compassion: he was very generous, and he would always help the needy, even though some people would turn out to be predators that would steal his pot and his money. He simply was that kind of person.
Marc truly has to be remembered for his website www.medpot.net into which he put a lot of effort. I should stress that his site was among the first to spread out all the relevant info on therapeutic and medicinal marijuana on the internet. He put countless hours into his project, to a point where it affected his health, already made fragile by his illness. But he was determined to pass his message to the world. When Marc felt weak, I used to bring him to my cottage where he could recharge his batteries. Marc did not go out much, often because he was experiencing a lot of stress, as he regularly felt the threat of being robbed. But, he still loved to go to the cottage with my wife Chantale (“georgous Chantale”, as he used to call her) where they would go berry picking together.
I would like to conclude by mentioning that the last 15 days of his life put him in quite a lot of pain, but he was always accompanied by his caring, loving family. Some ten days before he passed away, we were chatting on the phone, and he told me “Chantale, I love you, but I don’t have much longer to live” I told him to stay positive and that we loved him. He passed away a few days later.
Thanks to Ted Smith who gave me the idea of writing this text for the Cannabis Digest. Many thanks to Robert Neron who knew Marc; he truly gave me the energy required to write this piece. And a very special thank you to my wife Chantale too.
Thank you, Marc. Please watch over us from wherever you are now and give us the courage and the strength to keep going. You will be deeply missed, my old friend.