Pubdate: Fri, 30 Jan 1999
Source: Canadian Press
Copyright: 1999 The Canadian Press (CP)
Author: Lia Levesque


MONTREAL (CP) - A Bloc Quebecois motion to legalize marijuana for medicinal
and therapeutic purposes is aimed at making life easier for people like
Jean-Charles Parizeau.

Parizeau has AIDS and uses marijuana to ease the pain on the
recommendations of his doctor.

But that has landed Parizeau in legal trouble and he has been arrested
twice for possession of marijuana plants.

Parizeau said marijuana is important to him because it helps his appetite.

"It gives me the munchies, I get hungry, and I eat,'' he said after a news
conference with Bloc MP Bernard Bigras and Dr. Rejean Thomas, an AIDS
specialist who is well-known in Quebec.

Bigras has already tabled a motion in the Commons aimed at legalizing
marijuana for medicinal purposes. Debate is supposed to begin on Feb. 19
but a Commons subcommittee will decide Wednesday if it meets the criteria
to go to a vote by MPs.

The motion will have the support of the Bloc and the New Democratic Party,
he said. But Bigras, who repesents Rosemont, said he believes Conservative,
Reform and Liberal MPs are also sympathetic to the cause.

Thomas said inhaling marijuana can relieve nausea and boost the appetite of
people who have AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or who are undergoing

"More and more, medical authorities are supporting'' this approach, Thomas

"Right now, people are taking marijuana but they know they can be stopped,
be criminalized and they pay a lot for that.''

Parizeau said he was arrested once by the RCMP, who treated him in a
"gentlemanly'' fashion.

But he has bad memories of the night he was arrested by Ottawa-Carleton

"They came to my house at midnight,'' he said. `"They made me, my wife and
my child put our hands on our heads, just like real criminals.

"I tried telling them I'm handicapped but they just ignored me. They
slapped handcuffs on me and I was tied up against the wall on my knees.

"My son was beside me and was crying and so was my wife.'' 
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