HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Man Plans To Keep Smoking Pot, Despite Conviction
Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jan 2000
Source: Sudbury Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 1999 The Sudbury Star
Contact:  33 MacKenzie St., Sudbury, Ont., P3C 4Y1
Fax: (705) 674-6834
Author: Harold Carmichael, The Sudbury Star


A Chelmsford man says he will continue to use marijuana to ease his chronic
back pain, even though he has been told by a judge to stay away from using
narcotics unless prescribed by a doctor.

"I don't want to disobey the court order, but I don't want to suffer
either," said Michel Lavoie, 30, in an interview on Monday after being
convicted of possession of a narcotic and cultivation of a narcotic.

Lavoie described his back pain, which is aggravated by a birth defect
called spondylosis, as "a toothache in your back, but it doesn't go away."
Lavoie, a diamond drill operator, said he first hurt his back at work in
1988, then re-injured it in 1992.

He said he began using marijuana regularly in 1992 after he found it
reduced the anxiety his prescription drugs brought on, eased muscle spasms
and allowed him to sleep.

He said he smokes one joint a day, usually late at night.

His wife, Corinna Bonhomme, 30, said her husband's back is in such bad
shape that he can't stand or sit for long periods of time. She said
marijuana produces a world of difference in her husband's condition.

"He has been taking Tylenol 3s since 1988," she said. "He doesn't have a
liver left."

Lavoie - who has been on a disability pension since 1988 - said he has
talked to his doctor about seeking an exemption under the Controlled Drugs
and Substances Act that would allow him to use marijuana for medical reasons.

"He said he doesn't want to apply for it yet," said Lavoie. "There are
other conventional medicines he wants to try first."

Lavoie said that although he is bound by a court order to not use
marijuana, he has no plans to stop because of the medicinal benefits.

Seeking relief from the pain was the only reason he was growing the drug in
a hidden closet in his home the summer of 1995.
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