HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Medicinal Marijuana Argument Fails to Sway Red Deer
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jun 2004
Source: Red Deer Advocate (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 Red Deer Advocate
Author: Penny Caster
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


A man who needs marijuana to eat will be jailed if he is caught using
the drug while serving his 18-month conditional sentence, he was told
on Wednesday.

Andrianus Verhiel, 47, was convicted of growing marijuana last month
and given an 18-month conditional sentence.

He testified that he has hepatitis C and needs marijuana to give him
an appetite. Without it, he will get sick, he said last month.

Final disposition of the sentence was adjourned until it could be
determined whether Verhiel would be eligible under government
regulations to smoke the drug while under house arrest.

In Red Deer Court of of Queen's Bench on Wednesday, defence lawyer
Lorne Goddard said that his client's information was that the only
people being granted medical exemptions to use marijuana were
suffering from AIDS and on their death beds.

"I don't know of anybody personally who has been able to get a
certificate," Goddard told Court of Queen's Justice June Ross. "My
client can't get a certificate."

Ross said she had a court researcher look into the requirements for a
medical exemption to use marijuana and there are three categories.

The first is for people expected to die within a year, the second is
those suffering symptoms associated with specific serious medical
conditions such as severe pain arising from cancer, and the third
category applies to people suffering from other medical conditions
where conventional treatments have failed.

The researcher found one case where the third category had been
successfully invoked, in British Columbia in 2002.

"And that did deal with a person who had hepatitis C and nausea and
weight loss and was eventually able to get an exemption in the third
category," Ross said.

She said she did appreciate that getting such an exemption may be

After presentations by federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis and
Goddard, Ross delivered the terms for the 18-month sentence.

For the first nine months, Verhiel will be under house arrest, only
allowed to leave when at work, for medical appointments and for two
hours a week for shopping.

No visitors will be allowed at his residence while he is

There is to be no alcohol in the house during the first nine

During the second nine months, Verhiel must adhere to a midnight to 6
a.m. curfew.

A supervisor will monitor Verhiel and will have authority to grant
variations to the conditions in the case of emergency, but they must
be in writing.

Inglis asked Ross to add a requirement for Verhiel to provide breath
samples as requested.

"He drinks, he dies. We all know that," said Goddard.

"Then the condition is not a problem, either," said Ross, who added
the breath-sample requirement to the conditions.

"If you possess marijuana without getting an exemption, you are
putting at risk the conditional sentence that is being set up here and
putting yourself at risk of being incarcerated for the remainder of
the sentence." 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake