HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Dying Man Convicted For Growing Pot
Pubdate: Wed, 26 May 2004
Source: Red Deer Advocate (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 Red Deer Advocate
Author: Jack Wilson


A Red Deer man who needs to smoke marijuana in order to eat food because of
a terminal disease was convicted of growing marijuana Monday.

Andrianus Verhiel, 47, had final disposition of his sentencing adjourned
until the court could determine if he's eligible to smoke grass while on
house arrest.

Verhiel was convicted by Madame Justice June Ross following a trial last
week in Red Deer Court of Queen's Bench.

Ross also acquitted Verhiel of possession of marijuana for the purpose of

Verhiel was sentenced to an 18-month conditional sentence, during which he
must serve nine months of house arrest.

He's only permitted to leave for work, attend medical appointments and shop
for up to two hours a week.

However, Ross said she couldn't impose a prohibition on the use of
non-medically prescribed drugs such as marijuana until it can be determined
if Verhiel needs it.

"He may be entitled to a Constitutional exemption of possession of
marijuana," Ross said.

Ross said she couldn't impose a sentence that violates Verhiel's rights
under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Verhiel told court he needs to use marijuana to give him an appetite to eat.
Otherwise, he said, he can't because his advanced stage of hepatitis C makes
him violently ill.

"I need marijuana to help me eat," Verhiel told court.

"Either I eat or I'll be sick. I don't want to give up," Verhiel added.

The case was adjourned until June 7 to set a date for the prescribed drug
question in the final sentencing aspect.

Defence lawyer Lorne Goddard said his client contracted the disease through
a tattoo.

Goddard read a letter from a doctor, which said Verhiel may only live
another five years.

He has a "death sentence" Goddard said.

Verhiel told court he doesn't think he'll be granted a federal government
exemption because he understands it's only given to HIV patients.

Federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis told court Verhiel has to obey the law,
but there are exemptions to use marijuana if proper application is made and

Ross convicted Verhiel of being involved in the production of about 150
marijuana plants in various stages of growth at a Penhold residence in March

Court heard expert testimony the grass could yield an optimum amount of
$300,000 annually if three crops were taken each year from the operation.

Ross said the main evidence implicating Verhiel was numerous receipts found
in a file folder in the grow area for various material used in the

Ross said she'd grant the conditional sentence because Verhiel, who didn't
testify, had no previous record and presents no danger to the public.

She also said other factors, such as a person's medical condition, are
considered when courts issue conditional sentences.

Ross also said Verhiel appeared to be a "secondary player" in the grow
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