HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Marijuana Motorist Acquitted
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jan 2003
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


PEMBROKE, Ont. (CP) -- An eastern Ontario man has won his court battle to 
toke and drive in what could become a precedent-setting case.

Rick Reimer, a former lawyer and marijuana activist who had a joint in his 
hand when police pulled his car off the road, was acquitted yesterday of 
driving while impaired by marijuana.

There wasn't enough evidence to prove the multiple sclerosis sufferer, who 
has an exemption to smoke pot, was impaired "beyond a reasonable doubt," 
said Justice Bruce McPhee.

In the absence of objective expert testimony and without having had the 
opportunity to witness Reimer straight since he never was during the trial, 
McPhee said he could not convict.

"I'm happy and I think it's the right verdict," Reimer said as he sparked 
up a victory joint outside the Pembroke courthouse.

"What I'm hoping will happen is that now there'll be more debate on that 
issue and through democratic process our government will decide: 'Well, do 
we need a law and if so what kind of law do we need? What kind of 
investigative tools do the police need?'

"These are all issues surrounding marijuana that have been ignored," he said.

Reimer, who offered no expert testimony besides his own, said he had his 
doubts at times throughout the three-day trial and expects the results 
could be overturned on appeal.

"If somehow (my acquittal) is perceived by the powers that be to be a 
precedent saying smoking marijuana and driving is OK, then I can expect 
there would be a fairly large cry for it to be appealed," he said.

Crown attorney Mac Lindsay, however, could not say whether his office 
planned to appeal.
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