HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Marijuana Law Faces Another Challenge
Pubdate: Mon, 31 May 2004
Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada Web)
Copyright: 2004 CBC
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


GATINEAU - A West Quebec man will finally get his day in court after 
battling the legal system for years. Johnny Dupuis will go on trial Tuesday 
for a five-year-old charge of possessing marijuana.

He claims he needs the drug for health reasons. But his unsuccessful fight 
to get a medical exemption has tied his case up for years.

Now he's hoping the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will help his case.

Dupuis says he has been in constant pain ever since a vicious knife attack 
27 years ago.

"[Marijuana] helps me eat first of all, because all my stomach is all 
ripped open from this attack. And, basically, it helps me to sleep, 
because, when this occurred, I was sleeping when I was attacked," Dupuis says.

When police entered his home five years ago, they found him in posession of 
just under four kilos of marijuana.

He was charged with cultivation, possession, and intent to traffic.

Ever since then, Dupuis has been trying unsuccessfully to get a medical 
exemption. The problem is, his application was made under old regulations, 
which require him to prove the drug actually helps his condition.

Dupuis says there isn't enough scientific information available to allow 
him to do that.

So he plans to use the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to fight the charge.

Dupuis's lawyer, Michel Moreau, says, "All the people who made the 
application under the old regulation, if we win this case, it will be good 
for them."

Dupuis's trial is expected to last about two days. Dupuis says, if he 
loses, he'll appeal his case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Last year, an Ontario court ruled that Canada's medical marijuana laws are 
unconstitutional and gave Ottawa just six months to change them.

In a judgement issued Oct. 7, 2003, the Ontario Court of Appeal wrote new 
rules to make it easier for people who are ill to get medicinal marijuana 
legally, but, in the process, it reinstated laws making posession of pot 
for social or recreational use illegal.

The Supreme Court of Canada said in a decision on Dec. 23, 2003, that 
Canada's laws against possessing small amounts of marijuana do not violate 
the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and its protection of life, liberty and 
security of person.

Ottawa still plans to decriminalize possession of small amounts. Prime 
Minister Paul Martin said in December 2003 that the government plans to 
reintroduce the marijuana bill that died in November 2003.
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