cannabisnews.com: Ottawa Stays Pot Charges in 4,000 Cases





Ottawa Stays Pot Charges in 4,000 Cases
Posted by CN Staff on December 08, 2003 at 22:43:26 PT
By Kim Lunman
Source: Globe and Mail 
Ottawa is making it a green Christmas for 4,000 people  it plans to stay thousands of charges of pot possession as a result of legal battles over medicinal marijuana.The decision will apply to every person in Canada charged with possession of marijuana between July 31, 2001, and Oct. 7, 2003, Justice Department spokeswoman Pascale Boulay said yesterday.
The Justice Department intends to cease prosecutions on the cases because of an Ontario court ruling in 2000 that found medicinal-marijuana users had the right to possess less than 30 grams of pot. The judge delayed that ruling's effect for one year in the hope the federal government would introduce a medicinal-marijuana law.But the government did not. Instead, the cabinet issued regulations for access to medicinal marijuana one day before the yearlong grace period ended 2001.The Ontario ruling created a legal loophole, effectively invalidating Canada's marijuana possession law as unconstitutional because it failed to provide an exemption for medical use."We estimate there are about 4,000 pending files," Ms. Boulay said. However, she said that criminal charges of marijuana possession will still be prosecuted today as a result of the government's announcement yesterday that it will not appeal the medicinal-marijuana case to the Supreme Court."It still constitutes an offence and [anyone caught with marijuana] would face charges." The federal government recently introduced legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.Possession of marijuana now carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.The decision not to proceed with 4,000 possession prosecutions follows Health Canada's announcement yesterday that it would not appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in October that allows ill people to grow their own marijuana supply or to obtain it from designated growers.Some police forces had virtually stopped enforcing the possession law after the initial ruling threw its constitutionality into question.Last January, a Windsor judge cleared a 16-year-old on the grounds the federal pot-possession laws were no longer valid.Yesterday, Health Minister Anne McLellan said the government would amend the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations to provide reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes."The amendments announced today will ensure that Canadians who suffer from serious medical conditions for whom conventional therapies have not been successful will have reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana," she said.But the people at the centre of the court case are upset the government will continue to strictly limit local growing operations, forcing patients to obtain government pot, which they consider inferior and overpriced."I've got mixed feelings about it," said Jari Dvorak, a 62-year-old medicinal-marijuana user in Toronto who uses the drug to alleviate symptoms of HIV. "They seem to be half-hearted about the program."Mr. Dvorak is among 697 patients in Canada authorized by the government to use medicinal marijuana. He is also among 11 patients to take Ottawa to court over the program's lack of access.The lawyer representing the patients in the case, Alan Young, also had concerns about whether the government would ensure access to medicinal marijuana."All I've seen is crisis public-policy management," he said. Under the new rules, it will be acceptable for a patient to pay his or her supplier, and the price is left for them to negotiate. But the rules will continue to prevent a grower from supplying more than a single patient, and to prevent more than three patients from cultivating together.The new regulation contains some minor changes in the procedure for obtaining approval for marijuana access. One class of patients, which had previously required signatures from two medical specialists, will now require only one signature. Currently there is little scientific evidence that pot has therapeutic benefits, but many patients say it helps them deal with nausea, pain and lack of appetite.From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author:  Kim LunmanPublished: Tuesday, December 9, 2003 Copyright: 2003 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: http://www.globeandmail.com/CannabisNews Canada Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/Canada.shtml
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help




Comment #10 posted by escapegoat on December 10, 2003 at 11:18:00 PT
Anne McLellan caught lying on live televison
A bunch of activists crashed one of McLellan's little press conferences at the
Royal York Hotel in Toronto yesterday, and called her on her lies: specifically,
why she is in contempt of the Ontario Court of Appeal, why she announced in
Parliament that there was an ongoing research program for AIDS, after cancelling
the funding for it a few months previously, and why she is hurting medical
marijuana patients.She skated, obfuscated, and the lapdog press never mentioned it later (except,
of course, when it went out on the live feed from the conference).
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 09, 2003 at 11:43:55 PT
Related Article from CTV 
Ottawa Stays 4,000 Pot Possession ChargesCTV.ca News StaffDecember 09, 2003Thousands of Canadians charged with marijuana possession are off the hook. The federal Justice Department is backing away from prosecuting 4,000 fines related to pot possession, as a result of legal battles over medicinal marijuana.Those cleared include anyone arrested between July 2001, and October of this year, Justice Department spokeswoman Pascale Boulay says.The decision to stay the charges falls into line with an Ontario court ruling three years ago. It effectively invalidated the possession law because it did not provide an exemption for medicinal use. The 2000 Ontario court ruling found medicinal marijuana users had the right to possess less than 30 grams of pot. The judge delayed that ruling's effect for one year in the hope the federal government would introduce a medicinal marijuana law. It didn't. Instead, the cabinet issued regulations for access to medicinal marijuana one day before the year-long grace period ended.Yet the Ontario ruling created a legal loophole, effectively invalidating Canada's marijuana possession law as unconstitutional because it failed to provide an exemption for medical use.Boulay said that criminal charges of marijuana possession will still be prosecuted today. That's because Health Canada's announced Monday it will not appeal to the Supreme Court the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that allows ill people to grow their own marijuana supply or to obtain it from designated growers.Health Minister Anne McLellan said the government would amend the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations to provide reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes."The amendments announced today will ensure that Canadians who suffer from serious medical conditions for whom conventional therapies have not been successful will have reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana," she said.But many medicinal pot users are not pleased. They say the rules will continue to prevent a grower from supplying more than a single patient, and to prevent more than three patients from cultivating together.The federal government recently introduced legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. But it remains unclear whether prime minister-deisgnate Paul Martin will revive the legislation in the new year.Copyright: 2003 Bell Globemedia Inc.http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1070995061602_66404261/?hub=Canada
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #8 posted by Nuevo Mexican on December 09, 2003 at 10:00:08 PT
Dennis is on ABC & C-Span at 7pm EST tonight!
The above article is good news, and sets a precedent that will undue future charges! Gore ditches Lieberman! Embraces candidate that praises Kucinich every debate! Dean of course!http://www.kucinich.us/debates120903.phpPresidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich today released the following statement on Gore and Dean:"A close inspection of the factual record reveals that Dr. Dean, during the buildup to the War on Iraq, spoke in favor of preemptive war. He said unilateral action might be unavoidable. Once the war started, he declined to challenge the President's actions. "After the invasion, Dean called for a NATO-led effort and said 'A democratic transition will take between 18 to 24 months, although troops should expect to be in Iraq for a longer period.' Throughout the course of the occupation he said we're 'stuck' in Iraq and 'cannot leave.' On various occasions, including the presidential debates in New York and Phoenix, Dr. Dean supported spending another $87 billion on the occupation."On other occasions, including the most recent debate, Dean claimed to have opposed the $87 billion. The news media has chosen to ignore the obvious frequent discrepancies in Dr. Dean's public statements.http://www.kucinich.us/pressreleases/pr_120903.phpBust Bob Novak! -- Send the LetterOn July 14, 2003, "journalist" Robert Novak revealed the name of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame in print after speaking to a White House official. The agent's husband, former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, had publicly challenged President Bush's claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium ore from Africa -- exposing yet another misleading rationale for war. http://www.bustbob.com/petition/Get your friends in San Fran to vote for Matt Gonzales-GREEN Party candidate, not corporate Democrat Newson!http://www.indybay.org/Humanizing steve Kubby:
http://www.kubby.com/family/Sky.htmlbush grabs ankles for sharon, American taxpayers foot the bill and Iraqis' die, while Israels war crimes are rewarded, SICK! Can we take our country back now? The pendulum has swung as far right as it can go:Israel Trains US Assassination Squads in Iraq:Israeli advisers are helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1209-03.htm
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by The GCW on December 09, 2003 at 06:41:53 PT
Coming soon to MAP
US CO: Judge: Return marijuana 
Newshawk: The GCW
Pubdate: 09 Dec. 2003
Source: Steamboat Pilot & Today, The (CO)
Copyright: 2003 The Steamboat Pilot & Today
Contact: editor steamboatpilot.com
Website: http://www.stmbt-pilot.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1549
Author: Susan Bacon
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project (www.mpp.org)
Cited: Drug Enforcement Administration www.dea.gov
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Refered: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n1884/a03.html?1162 
Viewed at: http://www.steamboatpilot.com/section/frontpage_lead/story/20697
 
Judge: Return marijuana 
County court sides with state law By Susan Bacon, Pilot & Today Staff Tuesday, December 9, 2003 STEAMBOAT SPRINGS  A Hayden resident who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes should have growing equipment and 2 ounces of the drug that were seized in a search returned to him, a county judge ruled Monday.The decision, which had to account for conflicting state and federal drug laws, may set an important precedent, Routt County Judge James Garrecht said."Obviously, this case has the potential of going a whole lot further than just this court," Garrecht said after giving his decision. "This may be a precedent-setting case a whole lot further down the road."Several ounces of usable marijuana, three marijuana plants and growing equipment were taken during a GRAMNET search of 57-year-old Don Nord's home in mid-October. GRAMNET, the Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, is a federal task force made up of local officers.Deputy District Attorney Marc Guerette, who represented GRAMNET, had no comment on the judge's decision and said he wasn't sure whether he would pursue an appeal, which would go to District Court if it was filed.During the hearing, Nord's attorney, Kristopher Hammond, argued that because the search warrant was served through a state court and charges were dismissed through the state court, the officers should follow state law and return the property.Garrecht then asked Hammond to clarify the state and federal laws, which he did.Under a Colorado law that voters approved in 2000, people suffering from debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and chronic severe pain, are allowed to grow and smoke marijuana. Colorado is one of eight states that allows medicinal marijuana use.Nord, who has battled kidney cancer, diabetes, a lung disease, and other illnesses, is listed with the state's Medical Marijuana Registry program.But according to federal laws, none of that matters; marijuana is an illegal drug for everyone.Hammond also directed the judge's attention to part of the state law that says that property seized from someone registered to use medicinal marijuana should not be harmed or neglected and should be returned. "All of a sudden, this marijuana they seized under a state order now becomes federal property," Hammond said. "My suspicion, judge, is they're just trying to do an end run around this case."After the search, Nord was issued a citation for the possession of between 1 and 8 ounces of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Those charges were dismissed, Garrecht said, because the citation was filed late.Garrecht asked why those charges were filed in a county court, and Guerette replied that he was not sure, but that it didn't matter because the marijuana and growing equipment are now federal property. He also said that it was clear that GRAMNET officers operated under federal laws.Hammond cited an Oregon Court of Appeals decision in which marijuana was seized from a man who was allowed to use it for medicinal purposes. Federal officers argued it would violate federal law to return the drug, but a local court said the drug should be returned, a decision which was upheld by the appeals court.Guerette said the Oregon court's decisions were not binding for this county, but Garrecht said that because neither lawyer was aware of a similar case for Colorado, the Oregon case offered some important precedent, which he used in making his decision.Garrecht then ordered that the seized property be returned. Hammond said that the marijuana plants were uprooted so they probably had died, and Garrecht responded that those would not be returned.Two ounces of usable marijuana, along with containers, a 1,000-watt bulb, pipes, a scale, rolling papers and several other items were ordered to be returned within 21 days. Some of those items, Guerette said during court, had been shipped to a federal lab in San Francisco.Before the hearing ended, Hammond said, "Your honor, my client just asked me if he can grow marijuana again."Garrecht replied that he did not give out legal advice.-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon steamboatpilot.com 
420& In case You haven't heard: Kucinich put in writing that as president He will: 
"decriminalize marijuana" -"in favor of a drug policy that sets reasonable boundaries for marijuana use by establishing guidelines similar to those already in place for alcohol." 
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread17917.shtml As President, Kucinich would end the Federal U.S. effort to prohibitit cannabis.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by Virgil on December 09, 2003 at 00:40:58 PT
Yep, it is thought herding
Currently there is little scientific evidence that pot has therapeutic benefits, but many patients say it helps them deal with nausea, pain and lack of appetite.That is the last sentence in this article. Compare that to the last two sentences in another article that appeared today from the Canadian Press- http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread17936.shtmlCurrently there is little scientific evidence that marijuana has therapeutic benefits, but that could be due to scant funding for marijuana research. Many patients say it helps them deal with nausea, pain and lack of appetite. This is too coincedental not to be thought herding. In the above article I do not understand why they use such slang when they do not say Rush was abusing Oxy. Okay. I do understand. It is demonization like when Hearst inked his papers with the word "marijuana." Why did the article end with such similar statements with a frivilous attitude? If they wanted to be authoritative on what cannabis does, they should have used an authoritative source. They are tight with the truth and they are both thought herding. 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by DeVoHawk on December 09, 2003 at 00:15:18 PT
Keystone Cops
The Supreme Court in Canada must really be getting pissed off. Nothing that has happened in last 2 months follows the spirit or the words of Supreme Court saying all possession pot laws are invalid because Medical Marijuana is still not resolved.I have to believe that possession laws will be struck down by the Supreme Court. Marc Emery will put the justice system to the full stress test to see if it cracks.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by ErikGhint on December 08, 2003 at 23:38:26 PT
Alan Young
He made no mention of it being legal due to the governments not fully abiding by the court ruling.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by Virgil on December 08, 2003 at 23:15:06 PT
It is almost non-news
It is just an acknowledgement by the courts that the prohibition of laughing grass was dead from July 31, 2991 to October 7, 2003. Why would you put people on trial when they broke no laws.You know the sayings like "Would you like a little hamburger to go with that ketchup" or "Would you like some coffee to go with that cream?" In this article we have another repetetion of the present absurdity being pushed- Currently there is little scientific evidence that pot has therapeutic benefits, but many patients say it helps them deal with nausea, pain and lack of appetite. It is about like they wrote the whole article just so they could arrive at a point where they could kill us with nonsensical repetition. That is not responsible journalism. It is thought herding.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 08, 2003 at 23:00:22 PT
Is This Good News?
Or are they trying to keep the new law in place that makes possession illegal again. Some of these articles are hard to figure out.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 08, 2003 at 22:44:43 PT
Here's Some Good News
What does anyone think about this article?
[ Post Comment ]


Post Comment