HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Medical Marijuana Exemptee Jailed Again
Pubdate: Wed, 24 Apr 2002
Source: Independent, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Conolly Publishing Ltd.
Author: Ben Rutledge
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Diane Bruce was arrested by Northumberland OPP officers Monday morning when 
she reported for her weekly "sign in," one of her current bail conditions. 
Her lawyer, David McCaskill, told a reporter from The Independent that 
Bruce was arrested for "breaching the terms of her recognizance."

Bruce made headlines last October when Kawartha Combined Forces Drug Squad 
officers raided her Cramahe Township home about a week after this newspaper 
printed a feature story about the medical use of marijuana. The story 
outlined Bruce's attempt to operate Lady Dyz Helping Hands, founded by her 
to provide free marijuana to more than 40 people given Health Canada's 
permission to possess and use the herb.

After last year's bust, Bruce spent nine days in the Whitby jail waiting 
for a bail hearing. Suffering from fibromyalgia, intestinal illnesses, and 
neck and back injuries, Bruce was allowed only an occasional aspirin to 
ease her pain during that time in jail.

Steven Bacon, one of Canada's first medical marijuana exemptees, has 
supported Bruce throughout her ordeal. In a telephone interview, Bacon said 
Diane was arrested April 22 "because she signed in on Tuesday last week 
instead of Monday, even though her doctor had written a letter explaining why."

Bruce told a reporter recently that she was suffering because she had no 
legal access to marijuana locally. Exemptees in British Columbia had 
offered her some of their medicine, but because they would not send 
marijuana through the mail, Bruce would arrange to travel to that province 
to pick it up, she said.

According to McCaskill, Bruce travelled to B.C. as per her plan, but 
"flight complications" delayed her return to Ontario until Tuesday, April 16.

"I understand that (Bruce) went straight to the Cobourg OPP office from the 
airport and signed in," McCaskill said. "She said she had a great 
conversation with officers there."

McCaskill said Bruce was arrested when "signing in as normally required" on 
Monday. Bacon notified him of her arrest immediately, but by the time he 
contacted officials in Cobourg, Justice of the Peace P. McHenry had ordered 
her jailed pending another bail hearing, slated for April 24.

"I'm not sure what they're trying to prove here," McCaskill said. "I'm told 
the OPP even phoned Diane's doctor last week, and he confirmed she was 
out-of-province for medical reasons."

"It certainly sounds like sour grapes to me," he said. "This is a small 
technical breech at best."

McCaskill was alluding to confirmed reports that show OPP officers visited 
Bruce's marijuana garden up to six months before the October raid. A 
reporter from The Independent viewed a photograph of one uniformed OPP 
officer standing in shoulder-high marijuana plants at Bruce's property in 

Bruce has said repeatedly she was growing marijuana only for people 
exempted under Section 56 of Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, 
and that she was "doing nothing wrong."

"I even asked police officers to sit on (Lady Dyz) board of directors," she 
said during an earlier interview. "I figured if the cops knew all along 
that I was growing marijuana, and didn't say anything, then I was okay."

Calls to Cobourg OPP officer Doug Lewis, who was in charge of Bruce's 
arrest this week, were not returned.

OPP Detective Constable John Murphy, who has been mentioned in earlier 
stories about Bruce's marijuana bust, said he was "no longer involved in 
the case," but believed Bruce was arrested because "she was out on a 
recognizance and failed to sign in at the appropriate time."

Bacon said he attended court in Cobourg on Monday "to speak for Diane," but 
was told by an OPP officer to "shut the hell up because I was this close to 
being arrested myself." He said he witnessed Bruce "bent double in pain" as 
she was being led away to jail.

"This woman is too sick to be sitting in jail without medication," Bacon 
said. "This goes on all the time, and police get away with it because they 
always see criminals instead of sick people with exemptions."
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