Pubdate: Thu, 10 Aug 2017
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2017 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Neil Bowen
Page: A4


In what's believed to be a Canadian first, a judge in Sarnia is having
to wrestle with the question whether having medicinal pot on you is
illegal if you're driving under its influence.

In a case heard Wednesday, federal drug prosecutor Michael Robb said
the issue hadn't come up before in the government's prosecution service.

Anthony Francis Barr, 27, of St. Clair Township near Sarnia, pleaded
guilty to driving while impaired by marijuana and to possession of

Barr had a prescription for marijuana to deal with an anxiety

He was convicted and fined $1,000 for driving while

But while the impaired by pot charge wasn't in dispute, the drug
possession charge is more hazy.

"I am struggling with a lawful prescription becoming unlawful due to
its use," said Judge Mark Hornblower, who delayed his finding on the
possession charge until Sept. 25.

Robb said he had no case law supporting the contention that possession
of the marijuana became illegal because Bar was using it as he drove.

New federal legislation for Ottawa's planned legalization of
recreational pot next year considers the legality of marijuana in such
circumstances just like that of alcohol, Robb said.

Transporting sealed booze in a vehicle is legal, but having open
alcohol and consuming it as you drive are not.

On April 12, Barr was driving on the St. Clair Parkway south of Sarnia
when he passed five vehicles while approaching a curve.

The driving was troubling due to the potential risk to other
motorists, said assistant Crown attorney Melanie Nancekievill.

Barr's vehicle was stopped by OPP officers who smelled fresh and burnt
marijuana in the vehicle. Barr told officers he'd smoked two bowls of
marijuana since leaving work 30 minutes before he was stopped.

Marijuana weighing a total of 18 grams was found in the vehicle.
Barr's prescription allowed him to use between 1.5 and three grams

In entering his guilty plea, Barr had considered the Crown's position
that under the circumstances his possession was unlawful, said defence
lawyer David Burns.

"I don't see it with the clarity of the Public Prosecution Service ...
I need to satisfy myself," said Hornblower in adjourning the marijuana
possession charge.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt