Pubdate: Tue, 27 Feb 2007
Source: Port Hope Evening Guide (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 Port Hope Evening Guide
Author: Valerie MacDonald
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Chronic Pain)


A Superior Court Justice has agreed to "stay" charges of growing,
possession and trafficking in marijuana against a local man who says
he has lived with pain for the past 20 years.

Gordon Strickland, 55, of Cobourg says he has acquired permits from
Health Canada since October, 2001 to grow and use marijuana for a
series of serious medical conditions including severe degenerative
disc disease, chronic pain from advanced arthritis and two ruptured
spinal discs.

But during the summer of 2003 there was an allegation his permit for
legal exemption from Criminal Code prosecution lapsed for a few
months, said Mr. Strickland's attorney, Richard Fedorwicz following
yesterday's court proceedings.

During this same time there were challenges under the Constitution and
obtaining a supply of marijuana for those suffering from "grave and
debilitating illnesses" (as required by Health Canada and supported by
a doctor's authorization) was difficult.

After protracted discussions, the Crown decided it was "not in the
public interest to proceed" to trial, Mr. Fedorwicz said.

The "stay" in the series of charges against Mr. Strickland is
contingent on his abiding by the strict rules of the permit, federal
prosecutor Marc Bebee told the court before the judge ruled on the
disposition of Mr. Stickland's case.

"Charges won't be brought up so long as he's abiding by those terms,"
Mr. Bebee stressed after Mr. Justice D. Ferguson clarified that the
stay of charges was at the Crown's request.

The rules Mr. Strickland says he must follow include growing no more
than 38 marijuana plants inside a premises, growing no more than 10
out-of-doors (down from 19 in his past permit) and storing no more
than a stipulated amount of marijuana for his own medicinal use.

"I'll keep growing whether I have a permit or not. It's the only
medication that won't kill me," Mr. Strickland said. "I have a life
because of marijuana."
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