HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Dope Smoker Off Hook
Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jul 2002
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: David Sands


Marijuana possession charges have been stayed against an Edmonton man 
because neither doctors nor the feds can supply him with legal pot.

The ruling - in favour of a man who does not have a federal permit for 
medical marijuana use - thrills medical marijuana advocates.

"That's an excellent step forward," said Munir Ahmad, who runs the Edmonton 
Compassion Network and provides marijuana to "more than 20" people, only 
some of whom have federal permission to use the narcotic.

Provincial court Judge Phil Ketchum called the possession charges against 
Brian Edward Oates, 45, "a violation of the accused's right to security of 
his person" and told cops and the Crown to back off, at least until Oates 
can go through the process for a legal exemption.

Oates, who court heard was hurt in a 1995 industrial accident, was busted 
after a raid on his home found 71 plants growing in the basement.

"It is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice to 
criminalize this accused while he waits for a medically approved source of 
raw marijuana to be made legally available," said Ketchum's written judgment.

A doctor for Oates had told the court he "was prepared to support the 
accused's application for a ministerial permit" to use marijuana, Ketchum 
noted, "however, both the Canadian Medical Association and the Alberta 
Medical Association were taking the position that until a better policy is 
arrived at, and better studies and sources of the supply of medical 
marijuana are available ... practitioners should not support applications 
for use of medical marijuana."

It's not fair, the judge said, that people have to live in pain while the 
authorities sort out a drug deal.

"I find forcing the accused to choose between his health and imprisonment 
violates his right to liberty and security of the person under Section 7 of 
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
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