Pubdate: Wed, 04 Feb 2009
Source: Monday Magazine (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Monday Publications
Author: Jason Youmans


The Canadian government's crumbling monopoly on the production and
distribution of medical cannabis was dealt another blow Monday with a
B.C. Supreme Court decision that effectively exonerated a grower who
supplied the Vancouver Island Compassion Society with the good grass.

The charges against Mathew Beren stemmed from a 2004 RCMP raid on a
VICS facility in Sooke. The compassion society and its lawyer, Kirk
Tousaw, argued that since the federal government was failing to
provide citizens with a safe and secure supply of medicinal marijuana,
compassion societies and their growers fulfilled a critical service.

Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg agreed, calling the government restrictions
on medical marijuana access unconstitutional, in the process striking
down the rule prohibiting more than one medicinal marijuana grower
from using the same facility.

"She cited in her decision, on a number of occasions, that Canadians
deserve to get their cannabis from organizations and institutions that
they trust," says VICS founder and Victoria city councillor Philippe
Lucas. "And they clearly have no trust in the Government of Canada."

Koenigsberg actually found Beren guilty on two drug-related counts,
but granted him an absolute discharge, citing the fact that he was
growing exclusively for the compassion society.

Lucas says it's business as usual for him.

"The VICS will just carry on doing the good work and research that
we've been doing for nine years, and we're currently helping 850
people in the Greater Victoria area-all that have doctors'
recommendations for cannabis," he says. "And we've had recommendations
locally now from over 300 doctors, so physicians clearly support our

In other news concerning kind buds, the International Hempology 101
Society-run by the good folks at the local Cannabis Buyers
Club-recently hired four employees to design and incorporate the World
Society for Cannabis Research, which will be based in Victoria.

Among the society's objectives will be publication of a peer-reviewed
scientific journal and hosting academic conferences on the subject.

Cannabis Buyers Club founder Ted Smith says a number of
cannabis-related areas require further scientific exploration.

"The science is all focused on creating synthetic drugs that mimic the
plant's benefits when the science and benefits of eating cannabis, the
raw plant medicine, has really been left behind," he says. "Everything
is focused on the sativic spray or pills, when I would say the plant's
highest utility is in its natural form."
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