HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Protest Rooted In Pot
Pubdate: Mon, 10 Jan 2000
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Section: Top Story
Author: Caroline Murray


Hep C Victim Takes Hill Stand

Pot smoker and hepatitis C victim Robert Brown spent yesterday shivering on
Parliament Hill, vowing to return every day until the federal government
concedes to his demands -- or until he dies.

"I have nothing else to lose," the 43-year-old protester said, shivering in
the morning dampness and initially vowing to stay on the Hill 24 hours a
day. "I'm going to stay here until someone has to pick me up and carry me
away or until they give me my paperwork."

By 9 p.m., however, Brown left the Hill, telling police he planned to return

The lone demonstrator spent most of the day smoking cigarettes and chatting
with friends near the Centennial Flame fountain. His only prop was a placard
detailing his story.

Since this time last year, Brown has been trying to get approval from Health
Canada to use marijuana as a treatment for an illness that has left him weak
and weary.

The pot smoker had no intention of lighting up a joint yesterday, however.

"First of all, I ran out," he said.

RCMP warned Brown when he first arrived at 10 a.m. against his plans to set
himself up with a tent, sleeping bag and air mattress.  It's illegal to camp
on Parliament Hill.

Police told Brown it was his right to demonstrate, but that he'd have to
obey the rules.

"We are sympathetic to this man's plight and all others who are affected
like him," said RCMP Sgt. Marc Richer. "We are still peace officers and we
still have to act upon the legislation that is in place.


Brown applied for an exemption after police raided his farmhouse near
Beachburg in December 1998.

He's now up on several drug-related charges as a result of the bust and is
scheduled to be back in court this June.

Health Canada has repeatedly told him approval "is just around the corner,"
said a frustrated Brown.

"When do I believe it? Honestly, I don't."
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