Pubdate: Tue, 26 Apr 2016
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Sun Media
Author: Ron Grech
Page: A1


A longtime local advocate for users of medical marijuana failed to 
convince a Superior Court judge in Timmins that drug charges police 
laid against him were unconstitutional.

Robert Neron argued in his own defence that recent federal court 
rulings, including a decision in February striking down the Medical 
Marijuana Access Regulations in Canada, was directly applicable to 
his own case.

Neron was charged in March 2011 with 11 drug offenses including 
several counts each of production and possession of controlled 
substances, and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The charges were laid after police executed a search warrant at his 
Moonbeam residence.

Neron was diagnosed in 1997 with cervical dystonia - a condition 
which causes painful, twisting muscle contractions in the neck. He 
has said smoking medical marijuana has effectively helped to reduce 
the pain caused by his condition.

However, a Timmins court heard that Neron had allowed his medical 
marijuana licence to lapse prior to 2011 and that is when he was arrested.

Neron's trial is set to go ahead before a jury in the Ontario 
Superior Court in Cochrane next month.

In advance of that trial, Neron filed a motion to have the charges 
against him quashed and to have the marijuana that was seized from 
him returned.

Timmins Superior Court Judge Robert Riopelle dismissed the motion, 
saying the federal court rulings Neron built his arguments on don't 
apply to his case.

For instance, the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations that required 
patients to buy cannabis from licensed producers was passed by the 
Conservative government in 2013 and declared unconstitutional by the 
Supreme Court in February 2016.

Riopelle said that would have no bearing on drug charges that were 
laid in March 2011.

Riopelle suggested Neron has himself to blame for the legal trouble 
he is in, because he allowed his medical marijuana licence to lapse 
and then didn't follow the steps to get it back.

"You didn't look after it. You let it lapse and when you realized 
that you had, you applied for a renewal and tried to get it back. And 
they said to you that your application is incomplete, just fill out" 
another "section, and you didn't do it. So eventually they denied 
your application, and that's when you got caught."

Neron replied, "When I got caught, my application had lapsed because 
we couldn't find the proper doctor" to authorize the application.

Regardless, Riopelle told Neron, "I think your arguments are entirely 
without merit."

The judge said the Ontario Court of Appeal has dismissed 
"substantially similar" constitutional-based arguments as those 
presented by Neron.

"So there is no basis for me on which to stay or quash the charges, 
and no lawful basis for the return of the marijuana as well," said Riopelle.

Neron conceded afterwards to The Daily Press that "Justice Riopelle 
is bound by the Ontario Court of Appeal ... has his hands tied and 
can't provide any relief."

Neron said his only recourse, if he is found guilty, might be to take 
the matter to a higher court himself.
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