Pubdate: Fri, 29 Apr 2016
Source: Northern News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Northern News
Author: Ron Grech
Page: 2


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

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

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

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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