HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Pot Party Founder Free To Head South
Pubdate: Tue, 22 Nov 2005
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2005 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Patricia Brooks Arenburg
Bookmark: (Canadian Marijuana Party)


The founder of Nova Scotia's Marijuana party, on parole for conspiring
to traffic marijuana, is free to go south in March.

Michael Patriquen recently applied to the National Parole Board to
change the conditions of his release, allowing him to travel to
Jamaica, Mexico or Cuba with his wife and child.

"I'm regaining my freedom because I'm not a risk to anyone," he said
Monday of the Nov. 17 decision.

Mr. Patriquen said he has no immediate plans to travel but now has
"the flexibility if something comes up."

After checking with the consulates for those countries, "your parole
supervisor found there were no problems with or visas required for you
to enter either of these countries," the decision says.

The 51-year-old Middle Sackville man was sentenced in 2002 to six
years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and
traffic marijuana in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland between 1999 and
2000. The court heard that he was responsible for organizing several
large-scale marijuana-growing operations in Nova Scotia and
trafficking in Newfoundland.

He has been on parole since September 2004 and has "presented with no
criminal behaviour and (has) followed all the expectations of your
correctional plan," the parole report says.

Mr. Patriquen suffers from chronic back pain stemming from injuries in
a 1999 motor vehicle accident and has hepatitis C, which he alleges he
contracted while in prison. He has a Health Canada permit to grow his
own marijuana for medical use.

Considering his behaviour and the lack of objections from the
governments of his preferred vacation destinations, the board ruled
that it "does not see any problems arising regarding your risk to
reoffend or not to return home."

"It therefore gives permission for you to holiday with your family in
Cuba, Mexico or Jamaica in the month of March 2006."

This change in conditions allows Mr. Patriquen to apply for a

It's not known whether his wife, Melanie Stephen-Patriquen, will be
able to go on holidays then, as she is scheduled for trial in Nova
Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax in February and March on proceeds of
crime and money-laundering charges.

Mr. Patriquen's court battles haven't ended since his release from
jail. In January, he was given two years to pay a $258,427 fine
ordered by a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge for possessing the
proceeds of crime.

Justice Peter Richard also handed down a three-year sentence, to be
served concurrently with a six-year prison term, for which Mr.
Patriquen is currently on parole.

The three-year sentence is retroactive to September 2003, when Mr.
Patriquen pleaded guilty to the proceeds-of-crime charge.
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