HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Pot-Smoking Motorist Not Guilty Of Impaired Driving
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jan 2003
Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada Web)
Copyright: 2003 CBC
Note: Audio Link:
Travis MacLeod reports for CBC Radio (Runs: 1:38)


PEMBROKE, ONT. - An Ottawa Valley man who was pulled over while smoking a 
marijuana joint has been found not guilty of driving while impaired.

Rick Reimer, a retired lawyer from Killaloe, Ont., has been granted an 
exemption by Health Canada to smoke marijuana to help him with his multiple 
sclerosis. In February 2002, he was pulled over for crossing the centre 
line. The officer noticed that he was smoking a joint and charged him with 
impaired driving.

But Reimer, who defended himself in the case, insists that marijuana does 
not impair his ability to drive.

"I know that I'm not guilty, I'm innocent and I hoped that the court would 
see it that way and I'm glad the court did," said Reimer.

Justice Bruce McPhee acquitted Reimer on Wednesday, but said his decision 
doesn't dismiss the idea that marijuana may impede some people's ability to 

He said he was not convinced that it was the marijuana and not Reimer's 
multiple sclerosis that caused him to swerve.

"We got a very fair trial from Justice McPhee," said assistant crown 
attorney Mac Lindsay.

"As His Honour said, he was in a doubt as to the cause of the impairment 
here and therefore he was duty-bound to acquit if that was his position," 
he said.

Reimer called several of his friends to testify in the case and they said 
they drive while smoking pot, too. Some said it made their driving better.

"The most important thing, in my opinion, that the judge said is that this 
is an area that needs a lot more scientific study. It also, in my opinion, 
needs a lot more democratic debate," said Reimer.

The Crown didn't say whether they would appeal the decision.
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