HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html He's 'A Healer, Not A Dealer'
Pubdate: Sat, 09 Feb 2008
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2008 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Tom McCoag
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Man Who Claims His Hemp Oil Cures Cancer Says He's Leaving Canada 
After Fine For Trafficking In Medical Pot

By TOM McCOAG Amherst Bureau

AMHERST - A Maccan-area man who insists he has found the cure for 
cancer says he is leaving Canada for an unnamed country where he can 
live without fear of persecution or prosecution for taking and 
producing medicinal marijuana.

"I can't live in a country where I and others are labelled as 
criminals because of our medical need for this (marijuana) 
medication," Ricky Logan Simpson, 58, said Friday. "I've decided that 
after five years of trying to bring my medicine to the people, I 
don't like the way this country is run. It seems that the health and 
welfare of the people means nothing to the (politicians) in Ottawa."

Mr. Simpson made the comments outside Nova Scotia Supreme Court 
moments after Justice Felix Cacchione fined him $2,000 and sentenced 
him to one day in jail, considered served by his court appearance, 
for producing marijuana and possessing less than three kilograms of 
tetrahydrocannabinol for the purpose of trafficking. 
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main active ingredient in marijuana.

A charge of possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana was stayed.

Mr. Simpson was given six months to pay the fine.

A crowd of about 30 supporters in the courtroom applauded loudly when 
the sentence was handed down. As sheriff's deputies tried to quiet 
them, one man yelled, "Rick Simpson is a healer, not a dealer."

Outside the courtroom, Chummy Anthony, president of the Nova Scotia 
Marijuana Party, held a sign bearing similar wording. He was upset 
that Mr. Simpson wasn't simply given a discharge. He was yelling at 
the top of his lungs that "Mr. Simpson was just like Jesus Christ, 
because just like Jesus Christ, he was being prosecuted and 
persecuted for helping sick people."

A woman stood beside him holding up a DVD titled The Run from the 
Cure: The Rick Simpson Story. The DVD details Mr. Simpson's court 
battles and his efforts - including running in the last federal 
election - to have federal medical marijuana laws changed. Mr. 
Simpson was seen distributing the DVD to people before his sentencing.

Afterward, Mr. Simpson hugged and shook hands with supporters as he 
left the courtroom a free man. One man pledged that Mr. Simpson will 
not have to pay the fine because "all the people he's helped will 
chip in money to make sure it's paid."

A Supreme Court jury found Mr. Simpson guilty in September after a 
five-day trial. The charges stemmed from an RCMP raid on his Little 
Forks Road property on Aug. 3, 2005, that netted 1,190 marijuana plants.

Mr. Simpson admitted at trial to growing marijuana on his property 
and using it to create a hemp oil that he claims cures everything 
from cankers to cancer. He distributed the hemp oil free to about 300 patients.

Even after the trial ended with a guilty verdict, Mr. Simpson pledged 
to continue making and distributing the hemp oil.

It was his contempt for the law, and the size of the marijuana 
seizure - described as one of the biggest in the province - that led 
Crown attorney Monica MacQueen to recommend a two-year jail sentence 
for Mr. Simpson. Defence lawyer Duncan Beveridge suggested an 
unconditional discharge, saying his client did not profit from his 
marijuana operation.

Justice Cacchione called the trial the most unique drug case he has 
ever presided over. He said he'd never heard of a drug trafficker 
telling police of his plans, or of a dealer who didn't earn a profit 
from his trafficking.

"Mr. Simpson's actions were entirely altruistic," the judge said. 
"There was nothing insidious in what Mr. Simpson did."

He acted out of a strongly held belief in the medicinal value of 
marijuana and a steadfast conviction that the hemp oil he made was 
helping people alleviate their suffering from a variety of ailments 
that prescription drugs were having little impact upon, the judge said.

But he said he couldn't grant a discharge because Mr. Simpson chose 
to grow marijuana and distribute his hemp oil illegally instead of 
participating in the federal government's medical marijuana program.

Ms. MacQueen said it was too early to say if the Crown will appeal.

Mr. Simpson's legal woes are not over. He is to appear in Amherst 
provincial court on Feb. 28 to face another trafficking charge that 
Amherst police laid in November.
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