Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jan 2008
Source: Monday Magazine (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Monday Publications
Author: Jason Youmans
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal - Canada)


Lawyers for the Vancouver Island Compassion Society (VICS) will be
back in court in February to defend the organization's constitutional
right to distribute medical cannabis, despite the death of the judge
who was presiding over the now two-year-old trial.

VICS defence lawyer Kirk Tousaw was informed by Madame Justice Marvyn
Koenigsberg on Monday the case will continue next month from where it
left off in November, before the fatal heart attack of Justice Robert

VICS executive director Philippe Lucas says that's good new for his
group, which has spent $200,000 defending Mike Swallow and Mat Beren
against charges stemming from a 2004 police raid on a grow operation
the group managed at an East Sooke property.

The crown has now dropped charges against Swallow, citing evidence
presented at trial that he was only visiting the house when the raid

Justice Edwards presided over 31 days of B.C. Supreme Court and Lucas
says the society feared the trial would be discontinued, but Justice
Koenigsberg says audio tapes of the testimony will allow her a proper
understanding of the previous proceedings.

In other ganja-related news, marijuana advocate and political enigma
Marc Emery has tentatively agreed to a five-year term in a Canadian
prison on U.S. charges of money laundering and marijuana seed vending.

Emery, whose Vancouver store was raided by RCMP lapdogs on behalf of
U.S. federal authorities in 2005 says he accepts the sentence not only
out of a willingness to fight for the cause, but to spare his two
co-accused Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams from serving time behind
bars as well.

Last, but in now way least, on Thursday last week federal court
Justice Barry Strayer struck down Health Canada's monopoly on the
distribution of medical marijuana to patients unable to grow their
own. The feds medical marijuana monopoly has long been criticized by
clients for the long waits for prescriptions and the second-tier
quality of the product.

Strayer said in his 23-page decision that the bureaucratic hoops
required to access Health Canada pot, "caused individuals major
difficulty with access," constituting a significant impediment for
those with critical illnesses.

It is expected the Crown will appeal the decision, but in the
meantime, licensed growers on Vancouver Island are ready to do Jah's
work for the critically and chronically ill. 
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