Pubdate: 14 March 1998 Source: London Free Press Author: John Miner, Free Press Regional Affairs Reporter Contact: http://www.canoe.ca/LondonFreePress/home.html ROCK VOWS RESPONSE TO WOMAN'S POT PLEA TILLSONBURG -- Federal Health Minister Allan Rock says he is taking seriously a plea by Londoner Lynn Harichy to legalize marijuana for medical use. Harichy, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, met with Rock in Tillsonburg Friday, asking him to push for legalization for such purposes. She was pleased with his response. "I'm really happy," Harichy said. Rock said he and Justice Minister Anne McLellan have asked senior civil servants to review the implications of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. He said he hopes to have a solid response for Harichy within months. "I told her we are taking her position very seriously," Rock said. Rock was in Tillsonburg Friday to announce the legalization of industrial hemp, a close relative of the marijuana plant that has no psychoactive qualities. Harichy, who is facing charges for possession of marijuana, said she told Rock of her plan to open a Medical Marijuana Buyers Club in London. The club will sell marijuana to members who have doctors' letters confirming they have cancer, AIDS, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, epilepsy, glaucoma and intractable pain. "I told him I want to give patients an opportunity to get it without having to buy it off the street. I said I don't want to go to jail for it. He said they are very, very close to a resolution," Harichy said. Harichy said if changes aren't made in the law, she will be in court on the possession charge in June or July. She is raising money for her defence. Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young has agreed to defend Harichy on the charge.