HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Medical Marijuana Claimed By Exemptees Destroyed By OPP
Pubdate: Wed, 06 Mar 2002
Source: Independent, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Conolly Publishing Ltd.
Author: Tom Philp
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Marijuana seized from a Cramahe Township home last October was destroyed by 
Northumberland OPP officers in late January, The Independent learned last 
week. In early January, several men who claimed a right to the marijuana as 
medicine were told it could not be released to them because it was needed 
as evidence in the trial of Dianne Bruce, and they should reapply for 
release of the marijuana in February.

Bruce said she accompanied Marc Paquette to a Cobourg court on February 4, 
two days before she appeared in Brighton court to face charges stemming 
from an October raid on her Cramahe home. Bruce claims her company, Lady 
Dyz Helping Hands, was growing marijuana legally for more than 40 people 
"exempted" from prosecution for growing or possessing marijuana under 
Section 56 of Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).

Paquette was one of the forty exemptees who counted on Bruce for his 
"medicine." When Bruce was arrested October 19, her marijuana plants and 
products were seized by Northumberland Combined Forces Drug Squad officers, 
leaving Paquette with no "legal" source of supply.

During an October 29 bail hearing for Bruce in Cobourg, her lawyer, David 
McCaskill, advised Justice of the Peace P. McHenry that Paquette was 
present in her court, and prepared to file a motion under Sec. 24 of the 
CDSA for the return of "medicine" he claimed belonged to several exemptees.

"I want Your Worship to be aware that motions will be filed and they will 
play some part in the submissions I have to make down the road," McCaskill 
said at that time. "...the applications under Section 24 for return will 
cover all of the marijuana seized from Ms. Bruce's residence."

Paquette travelled to Cobourg from his home in Hawkesbury, four days after 
appearing in Federal Court in Ottawa to file similar motions. A judge of 
that court advised Paquette, and exemptees Robert Neron and Donald Appleby, 
to file motions in Cobourg because it was the proper jurisdiction for the 
Bruce case.

After hearing arguments from Special Crown Prosecutor Doug Mann, Justice 
McHenry refused to hear Paquette's motion, referring him to a provincial 
court in Cobourg.

Paquette returned to Cobourg on January 7, accompanied by Neron, Appleby, 
and five other exemptees for whom Bruce had been growing specific types of 
marijuana. They appeared before Justice Rhys Morgan, and were told to make 
their claim for return of the marijuana after Bruce had her preliminary 
hearing February 6. Mann was in court when Justice Morgan gave his 
direction to the exemptees.

Acting on "a hunch," Paquette appeared before Justice Morgan on February 4, 
again asking the court to release about 11 kilograms of the seized herbs to 
"us sick people." That's when Mann advised Justice Morgan that all plant 
products seized during the Bruce raid had been destroyed in late January.

"Doug Mann told the court the marijuana could not be released, even if 
Justice Morgan supported Marc and the other guys, because the OPP had 
burned it a couple of weeks before," Bruce said.

Bruce's case is now remanded to March 25, and she is "upset" that Mann, and 
police, ignored a plea for help from her "sick and dying" friends.

"(Mann) was there for my bail hearing, and he was there on January 7, so he 
can't say he didn't know these exemptees were trying to get their medicine 
back," she said. "He knew it, and he let the cops burn (the marijuana) anyway."

Part Three of the CDSA deals with disposal of controlled substances. It 
states applications for the legal return of seized drugs must be made 
within 60 days of the seizure. Subsection 25 clearly states that drugs may 
be ordered destroyed only if they are "not required for trial ... or other 
proceeding under this Act or any other Act of Parliament."

Subsection 21 of the CDSA advises police to "seek directions from the 
Minister (Health Canada) respecting the disposal of, or otherwise dealing 
with, the controlled substance."

Paquette said he "pleaded" with Justice Morgan to release the marijuana to 
exemptees, rather than putting them "in danger from buying our medicine 
from drug dealers." He made frequent requests to have the drugs returned to 
him, Neron, and Appleby immediately, because police in Canada "have a 
habit" of destroying medical marijuana, he said.

"We are sick people, we are not criminals," Paquette said. "Health Canada 
gave us the right to have marijuana, and then the police, they come and 
take it away. It makes me very angry."

Detective Constable Kelly Mason, lead investigator in the Bruce case, told 
The Independent all questions regarding the investigation had to go through 

Contacted at his Barrie office, OPP Staff Sergeant Rick Barnum (Supervisor 
of Drug Squad operations), could not confirm the Bruce marijuana had been 

"I'm not (in Northumberland County) so I can't confirm the marijuana seized 
from Dianne Bruce was destroyed," Barnum said, "but that would be the usual 
procedure in such cases."

Barnum said approval for destruction of the seized drugs would have to be 
obtained from the (federal) Minister of Health prior to disposal.

"If that marijuana has been destroyed, we would have received permission to 
do so from the Minister," he said.
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