Pubdate: Mon, 29 Mar 1999
Date: 03/29/1999
Source: Reporter (Canada)
Author: Chris Clay

I was surprised to find myself the subject of a recent feature story
in The Reporter ('Pot problems', March 15, 1999)).

As an honourary member of the Board of Directors of the Compassion
Club, Vancouver's medical marijuana buyer's club, the media
occasionally contacts me.

I was proud to pose for the Canadian Geographic cameras last summer,
though I should mention that I neither grow marijuana nor sell it.

The photo-shoot took place so long ago that I thought little of it
until I found myself on your front cover.

Unfortunately, unlike the Canadian Geographic photographer Robert
Semeniuk, reporter Leslie MacFarlane Fraser didn't bother visiting the
Compassion Club.

If she had, perhaps her article would have contained a little more

Most of the Club's 700 plus members are dying; they ahve serious
illnesses such as AIDS and cancer.

The majority have prescriptions from their doctors, and they find
cofort in buying their medicine in a caring, healing environment that
also staffs herbalists, nutritionists, counselors etc.

A number of people on the Sunshine Coast grow marijuana for the
Compassion Club.

To describe these people as a "blight" on the community is ludicrous,
especially considering a recent Angus Reid poll showing that 83 per
cent of Canadians support the medicinal use of marijuana.

The federal Minister of Health, Allan Rock, recently announced
clinical trials of medical marijuana and puts it simply: "There are
people who are dying. They want access to something they believe will
help their symptoms. We want to help."

Chris Clay Gibsons

(Editor's note: In Leslie MacFarlane Fraser's story, The Reporter in
no way editorialized the work of Compassion Club as a "blight" on the
community. The use of the term came from a quote by RCMP Staff Sgt.
Linton Robinson who said, "I wonder what Mayor Bruce Milne thinks of
the blight this puts on Sechelt," regarding coverage in the magazine,
with Sechelt mentioned in connection with marijuana grow operations
for the Compassion Club.)