Pubdate: Fri, 27 May 2016
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Page: 3
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Michele Mandel


Medical Pot User Fighting For Driver's Licence

Sam Slaughter is not a drug addict. He has repeatedly told them. His
doctor has told them as well.

And yet because he's legally prescribed medical marijuana to deal with
chronic jaw pain, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has suspended
Slaughter's driver's licence and refuses to reinstate it. He has to
prove that he has been free of "illicit drugs" for a year or attend a
drug treatment program; Until then, he can't drive.

For a cabbie who earns his living by taxiing fares around Trenton, it
has had disastrous consequences.

"They're treating me like I was hammered doing 160 on the 401," says
the exasperated Slaughter, 27. "I didn't do anything illegal. I simply
disclosed that I have a prescription for marijuana. I don't take it
before I operate a motor vehicle, that would be stupid. I have it at
night so I can go to sleep."

His jaw was broken in a bar fight about six years ago and he has
suffered with pain ever since. Slaughter was originally prescribed
powerful narcotics, which he argues are far more dangerous for someone
who drives for a living.

"I thought I was more of an addict when I was on morphine. It was
making me a zombie. I just wanted to sleep all day," he says. "That's
why I switched to marijuana."

It relieved his discomfort while allowing him to get a restful sleep
and function the next day. All was going well until last fall when he
decided to apply for his commercial driver's licence so he could get
into trucking.

A nurse in his doctor's office made an error filling out his medical
form - saying he used marijuana but didn't indicate that he had been
prescribed the drug for pain.

"It's just been craziness," Slaughter says. "It started as a mistake
on the paperwork which initiated everything. But from there it's been
a tailspin."

He immediately notified MTO about the error and was told not to

Slaughter then received a "substance use assessment" to be filled out
by his physician. It was completed and sent off.

That still wasn't good enough. They wanted evidence he was free of
illicit drugs or had attended rehab. He has sent them a copy of his
legal prescription; his doctor has sent repeated letters to confirm
Slaughter is a legal user of medicinal pot, not a dope addict. All to
no avail.

The MTO keeps sending the same form letter to say that they're still
missing the information they've requested. The doctor's note isn't
detailed enough. And on and on.

"They're on a witch hunt," Slaughter complains. "It's a hidden agenda
against people with medical marijuana licences."

In April, despite all the correspondence, the MTO notified him that
not only was he not getting his commercial licence, but they were
yanking his driver's licence as well.

He filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
alleging discrimination due to his disability.

"They're treating me like a drunk or a threat on the road when there
is no evidence that anything like that is even remotely true,"
Slaughter wrote the tribunal. "Having a prescription for medical
marijuana makes me ineligible to drive? I do not smoke and drive."

The bureaucratic runaround has cost him his ability to earn a living.
He's too proud to go on welfare and worries that he's going to be
evicted soon. "I can't pay my hydro, the cupboards are getting pretty
bare. It's been 38 days that I haven't been able to work because of

Slaughter has given up on driving trucks. He's enlisted in the
Canadian Forces and is provisionally approved as a weapons technician.

They're just waiting for him to do his medical in Kingston - but he
needs his licence back to drive there.  
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D