Pubdate: Fri, 03 Aug 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: Richard Watts, Times Colonist
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Vancouver Island Compassion Society)


A fibromyalgia sufferer, licensed to use marijuana as medicine, has
worked hard to comply with regulations but can't line up a legal,
affordable supply, court heard yesterday.

Andrea Lindsay testified circumstances, Health Canada red tape or cost
always see her go back to compassion clubs and that means she is
breaking the law.

"I wanted to be part of the program. I wanted to be up-front and
legal," said Lindsay, of Saanichton.

She was testifying in Victoria in the B.C. Supreme Court trials of
Michael Swallow, 41, and Mat Beren, 32, both charged with possession
of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and production of marijuana.

Swallow and Beren were arrested in May 2004 when RCMP raided a house
near Sooke used by the Vancouver Island Compassion Society to grow
marijuana for its members.

Lawyers for the two men, John Conroy and Kirk Tousaw, are now in the
middle of a constitutional challenge to the medical marijuana
regulations. The challenge says the rules force Canadians to break the

Compassion clubs supply marijuana as medicine to people suffering from
incurable diseases. Two clubs exist in Victoria, but operate without
official government approval.

People approved by Health Canada are allowed to grow marijuana
themselves, can designate a person to grow it for them or buy it from
government who is supplied by a company that grows it in an abandoned
mine shaft in Flin Flon, Man.

Lindsay testified she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1999 and
suffers chronic pain.

Shortly after her diagnosis she learned marijuana could help alleviate
some of the symptoms. She purchased her pot on the street, from
friends or from compassion clubs.

In 2006, Lindsay received a one-year federal licence to use marijuana.
She got a one-month supply -- 300 grams -- from the government, was
charged $1,500 for 300 grams and found the product third-rate.

She also moved to Ontario where a friend agreed to become her
designated grower. But delays getting approval from Health Canada
forced an end to the arrangement.

Lindsay said she tried to grow it herself but became fearful after her
licence expired and before her renewal came through so she cut down
the plants.

She has since moved back to Victoria, where she continues to buy her
marijuana from a compassion club. She is now in debt to Health Canada
for $3,000 for a two-month supply of marijuana.

"I now have all this debt. I know the Health Canada product doesn't
work. I know I can't grow it myself and I don't know how the
designated grower program is supposed to work," said Lindsay.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake