Pubdate: Tue, 01 Aug 2000
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Sam Pazzano, Sun News


TORONTO -- Parliament has a year to amend its marijuana laws or else
Ontarians will be able to possess pot legally, Ontario's highest court ruled

In a unanimous judgment by Justices Marvin Catzman, Louise Charron and Marc
Rosenberg, the Court of Appeal declared the prohibition on the marijuana
possession in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) of no force and

The landmark Court of Appeal judgment upheld a lower court judge's decision
to stay charges against Toronto epileptic Terry Parker. The 44-year-old, who
smoked pot to reduce the number of dangerous seizures, was busted in 1996
and 1997 for possession. Rosenberg wrote that Parker needs grass to control
the symptoms of his epilepsy and also that the prohibition on his
cultivation and possession was unconstitutional.

"Forcing Parker to choose between his health and imprisonment violates his
right to liberty and security of person," wrote Rosenberg. Parker's lawyers,
Aaron Harnett and Richard Macklin, hailed the decision as an "enormous
victory for Parker" and the estimated 150,000 medicinal-marijuana users in
the province.

The Ontario court decision was met with praise from Ottawa-area advocates of
medicinal marijuana use.

"There has to be some serious changes," said Ron Whalen, spokesman for the
Compassionate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Club. A police official, however,
said "It's business as usual for us. (The law) is still there, written in
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