Pubdate: Mon, 09 Aug 2004
Source: Whitehorse Star (CN YK)
Copyright: 2004 Whitehorse Star
Author: Sarah Elizabeth Brown
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


A man who says he smokes pot to ease his medical problems will have to
find his alternative medicine through legal routes.

Deputy Judge Cunliffe Barnett opted for a suspended sentence Friday
afternoon with an 18-month probationary term for Norbert Bujold,
halfway between the lengths suggested by the Crown and defence.

Bujold, 52, had pleaded guilty to growing marijuana in his rented
home's basement, along with possessing an unlicensed shotgun and
careless storage of the same shotgun.

In court Friday, Bujold was told if he wants to keep smoking weed to
help him with his diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis, he must
get a doctor to OK it.

"You told me this morning you weren't going to do any more gardening
- -- indoors or outdoors -- of plants that aren't allowed in this
country," said Barnett.

The judge paused after noting he'd been asked to accept that Bujold
grew all of the 26 marijuana plants seized, along with the large
bundle of undried pot leaves, for himself and not to sell.

"That's a bit of a stretch," Barnett said. "But Crown counsel hasn't
quarreled with that proposition."

Along with reference letters from people Bujold has helped or rescued
over the years, a letter from a local doctor was filed that stated
Bujold believes he gains medical benefit from smoking pot.

During his sentencing, Bujold stood and said he was sorry for growing
the pot, and agreed not to grow his own medicine.

Whitehorse RCMP discovered the man's medicinal stash quite by accident
when they were on his property after a neighbour called to report a
break and enter in progress to Bujold's Cook Street home.

The RCMP didn't find the thieves, but did find a 26-plant grow
operation, complete with the gear to cultivate it, in the basement.

Along with a bread box-sized bundle of harvested marijuana, police
found two rifles under Bujold's mattress and a stolen shotgun behind
the bedroom door.

The RCMP will destroy the three guns, and Bujold must complete a
firearms safety course as one of his probation terms. He's also
required to take assessment, counselling and treatment for drug
addictions as directed.

Prosecutor Kevin Drolet noted the combination of unsafely stored guns
and drugs together is "the worst nightmare of the RCMP."

The Crown didn't ask for a firearms prohibition for the longtime
hunter. However, Drolet did note it's up to Bujold to get a firearms
licence, something he'd neglected to acquire to date.

During their investigation of Bujold's home after getting a search
warrant, RCMP officers also found a "large quantity" of stolen
property in the man's house, said Drolet. That property was acquired
"innocently" from "a variety of young men."

In the original charges, Bujold was accused of possessing a stolen
bike and a stolen shotgun. The Crown stayed both charges.

Barnett agreed to a probation order prohibiting contact between Bujold
and young people under the age of 19 for the purpose of buying from or
selling property to them, except when they work with a legitimate business.

The probation terms suggested growing marijuana isn't the only thing
you need to stop doing, Barnett told Bujold.
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