HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html BC Man Gets Absolute Discharge In Court Battle Over
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Apr 2002
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


PENTICTON, B.C. (CP) - A 59-year-old man was given an absolute 
discharge Wednesday at the end of a lengthy court battle over the 
medicinal use of marijuana. The ruling means Errol Dammert of 
Osoyoos, B.C., will not have a criminal record. He had earlier been 
found guilty in B.C. Supreme Court on two counts of production of 
marijuana. The trial began in January 2000.

The charges followed a June 1997 police raid on Dammert's former home 
in the hills east of Osoyoos and a June 1998 incident when police at 
a roadblock found a tray of 100 baby pot plants in a truck Dammert 
was driving.

The entire amount seized was less than three kilograms.

Dammert was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in Penticton in 
August 1984. He fractured his spine in the crash and still suffers 
from chronic back, shoulder and leg pain, as well as severe headaches.

He said marijuana can ease his pain within minutes so in addition to 
smoking pot, he drinks it in tea and adds it to baked goods.

Defence lawyer Ian McAndrews had argued that the charges should be 
dismissed, saying that although Dammert agreed to no longer grow pot 
illegally, he must continue to smoke it for pain relief.

Earlier defence plans for a constitutional appeal of the marijuana 
charges were dropped due to the high legal costs involved.

Crown counsel John Cooper had asked for a conditional sentence.

He did not dispute that the marijuana was to be used by Dammert for 
his own pain relief and was not selling the drug to others.

"Given all the circumstances, I am of the view that an absolute 
discharge is appropriate in this case," said Justice Mary Humphries. 
"I do not see the need to impose punitive conditions on Mr. Dammert."

Humphries noted the whole issue of Canada's medicinal marijuana laws 
is still evolving before the Supreme Court of Canada and the federal 

Outside court, Dammert said he's ecstatic over the court decision.

"I can't see why it's illegal if you're suffering from pain," he 
said. "If you've got a warehouse full of it, that's a different 

Dammert, needs a cane to walk, said he now plans to continue his 
efforts to obtain a federal exemption which allows for the medicinal 
use of marijuana.

He said his application is "99 per cent approved" with the exception 
of one key form which must be signed by a doctor.

Dammert plans to go to Vancouver where he hopes to be referred to a 
specialist through the Compassion Club, an organization for medicinal 
marijuana users.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh