HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Stoning Of A Crusader
Pubdate: Thu, 28 Aug 2008
Source: NOW Magazine (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 NOW Communications Inc.
Author: Enzo Di Matteo
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Bust Of Health Activist Another Twist In Feds' Medpot Mind-Bender

NOW readers know Matt Mernagh as that indomitable spirit behind the 
megaphone at medpot rallies in Yonge-Dundas Square. Bright lights, 
big city. That's Mernagh.

He's been a tireless and unabashed promoter of the virtues and 
healing powers of the weed, a weirdly wonderful foot soldier for the 
rights of sick people in this country who just want to be able to 
grow their own medicine.

He's been pointed about the hell Health Canada has put medpot users 
through, including as a contributor to these pages, pissing off 
federal bureaucrats and, unfortunately, attracting the unwanted 
attention of law enforcement officials. Who are the paranoid ones here?

On Saturday August 16, Mernagh was arrested, along with a roommate, 
and charged with possession of marijuana, possession for the purposes 
of trafficking and production of marijuana.

According to his lawyer, Paul Lewin, police received a call from an 
anonymous tipster about pot plants growing on the balcony of a 
Wellesley Street high-rise.

After obtaining a search warrant, police discovered a small grow op 
in a closet. The cops walked out with 37 plants in all.

The law should be on Mernagh's side. A slew of court rulings dating 
back to 2000 have essentially voided pot possession laws in this 
country and made possession for medical use legal. But the Crown is 
asking a steep price of for his release on bail ($20,000), in 
addition to requesting all kinds of conditions in return for his 
release, including a curfew.

The legal snafu for Mernagh is complicated by the fact he doesn't 
actually have a licence from Health Canada to use pot for medicinal 
purposes or to grow his own for medicine. The feds aren't exactly 
giving them away. Few doctors are willing to write a prescription.

The bush the government's pushing doesn't do the trick. It isn't 
cheap either. Same old story for Mernagh and the thousands of others 
medpot patients left, like him, twisting in the wind.

Mernagh's up for the good fight, Lewin says, but he faces an 
uncertain future. He was already out on bail on another pot 
production charge laid by cops in his former St. Catharines stomping 
ground when he was arrested at his new T.O. digs. In the eyes of law 
enforcement, Mernagh's a criminal more than crusader.

As of yesterday afternoon (Wednesday August 27), Mernagh was 
anxiously awaiting his fate behind bars at the Don Jail.

It's not necessarily the murderers and rapists, no offence intended, 
he's now surrounded by that has Mernagh freaked.

Lewin says he's more concerned about not having the special green he 
needs (no, the Don stuff won't do) to keep the pain of his 
fibromyalgia and scoliosis at bay.

It was eight years ago last month that the Ontario Court of Appeal 
granted sick people the right to possess and smoke pot for medical purposes.

Someone, please get us out of this mind-bending maze.


The legal twists that have plagued access to medical pot for licensed users

July 2000 The Court of Appeal grants epileptic Terry Parker the right 
to possess pot for medical purposes and gives the feds one year to 
come up with a medpot program.

July 2001 One day before the court's deadline expires, the feds enact 
the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR). MMAR limits 
designated producers to one customer.

January 2003 The Superior Court of Ontario declares the regs in 
contravention of the Charter right to liberty and security of the 
person. The government appeals.

July 2003 Health Canada allows access to medpot and seeds through 
Prairie Plant Systems, the government's authorized producer.

October 2003 The Ontario Court of Appeal declares various sections of 
MMAR invalid.

December 2003 The feds repeal several MMAR provisions but re-enact 
the section restricting licensed producers to one customer.

January 2008 The Federal Court of Canada strikes down, once again, 
the offending provision.
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