Pot 'Club' Had Police OK, Court Told

Pot 'Club' Had Police OK, Court Told
Posted by CN Staff on May 27, 2004 at 07:27:37 PT
By Richard Watts, Times Colonist 
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist 
For years Ted Smith has sold medical marijuana to sick people with the full knowledge -- and even advice -- of Victoria police, provincial court heard Wednesday. "The police department had been aware of our operation for years," Smith testified. "We've had police officers actually refer people to our club." Smith, 34, and Colby Budda, 30, are on trial for possession for the purpose of trafficking. The charges stem from a Jan. 3, 2002, police search of a downtown storefront operation, then known as Ted's Books, on Johnson Street.
It was where Smith operated what he testified is commonly known as a "compassion club," selling marijuana to people with chronic illnesses.Testifying in his own defence, Smith told provincial court Judge Loretta Chaperon he began in 1995 to personally distribute marijuana for use as medicine to people suffering from illnesses such as AIDS and cancer.Smith said he sees distribution of the controlled substance to sick people as a civic duty. "I grew up with the idea that we have, as a society and as individuals, a requirement to protect the most vulnerable people in our society."He has always been a vocal and public advocate for medical marijuana, speaking at City Hall, holding press conferences. Snipped: Complete Article: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)Author: Richard Watts, Times Colonist Published: Thursday, May 27, 2004Copyright: 2004 Times ColonistContact: letters tc.canwest.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:VICS Canadian Links Catch-22 of Compassion Question Pot Clubís Policing Efforts Out Fedsí Position on Medical Pot
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on February 02, 2005 at 15:14:33 PT
Related Article from The Canadian Press
Medical Pot Activist Fined $500 for Trafficking, Plans Appeal Dirk MeissnerFebruary 2, 2005VICTORIA (CP) - A medical marijuana activist was fined $500 Wednesday for lighting up five joints at a pro-pot rally.  Leon Edward (Ted) Smith, 35, was found guilty of marijuana trafficking after he lit up five marijuana joints at a pro-marijuana rally at the University of Victoria in November 2000. A provincial court judge rejected Smith's arguments that he had a constitutional right to smoke marijuana. "His behaviour could only be described as poking his finger in the eye of the law," said Judge Judith Kay. "What Mr. Smith was doing was illegal. What Mr. Smith was doing is trafficking." Smith spoke to about 40 people at the November 2000 rally at the University of Victoria. He talked about the benefits of marijuana and his objections to the law prohibiting it, then lit up five joints and passed them out to the crowd. After the rally, plainclothes officers who had stood in the crowd moved in and arrested Smith, a former Victoria mayoral candidate and one-time university rugby player in Ontario. Smith's lawyer argued for a conditional discharge, saying it would be unfair to sentence his client for sharing a joint when millions of Canadians do the same thing on a regular basis. "This is the wrong kind of time, completely inappropriate time period to be handing out harsh sentences," said lawyer Robert Moore-Stewart. "It will be counterproductive in the extreme not to give a conditional discharge." At a time when Canada is considering relaxing its marijuana laws, he said sentencing Smith for trafficking for sharing marijuana would send out the wrong message. Crown prosecutor Richard Fowler argued that Smith should not be jailed, but should face some kind of punishment because he chose to publicly break the marijuana laws. Outside court, Smith said he will continue his campaign to change Canada's marijuana laws, but will think twice about smoking marijuana in public. Smith faced a maximum sentence of five years in jail. He said he plans to appeal the conviction. "For people to be charged with trafficking for sharing a single joint in public, that's a very serious offence that no one in their right mind would really want to have happen to them," said Smith. "The deterrent now for myself and others is certainly not to be sharing in public for fear of being charged with such a serious offence." Smith runs a marijuana buyers club out of a downtown Victoria bookstore. Smith's buyers' club provides pot, including marijuana peanut butter cookies, to people who produce verification they are ill and could benefit from it. Last month, Smith received a conditional discharge on trafficking charges laid when police seized cookies and massage oil from his buyer's club that contained marijuana resin. Trafficking charges against Smith relating to a police raid on his bookstore in 2002 were stayed earlier this month, but he still faces other marijuana charges laid in March for a marijuana cookie giveaway he staged.  
Copyright: 2005 Canadian Press
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on May 29, 2004 at 05:34:11 PT
Re: Comments #3-4 
It looks like Health Canada is trying to force mmj patients to buy their Flin-Flon schwag through the British Columbia pharmacies by eliminating the competition: VICS.Beyond Prohibition: Dialogue Session 1, Running Time: 23 min, 
Date Entered: 27 May 2004' Speakers from the first two hours of the Beyond Prohibition conference are fielded questions from the audience. Speakers Phillipe Lucas, Jeffrey Miron, and Walter McKay answer questions from our own Marc Emery and David Malmo-Levine. 'And the heavy-handed police enforcement just keeps on developing:Australia: Saliva Tests To Lick Drug-driving 
by Michael Davis, (28 May 2004) Australian Australia' The saliva swabs will also detect THC - the active metabolite in cannabis - which stays in the system for up to three hours after use. ' The Victoria Police policy will be zero tolerance ' What about mmj patients who need to drive?"The function of the true State is to impose the minimum restrictions and safeguard the maximum liberties of the people, and it never regards the person as a thing." - Immanuel Kant 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 28, 2004 at 19:46:09 PT
VICS Press Release - VITCRI Bust 
 West Shore RCMP Raid Vancouver Island Therapeutic Cannabis Research Institute; Seize Medicinal Cannabis Supply of 390 Critically and Chronically Ill UsersAt around 1pm Thursday the West Shore RCMP executed a warrant at the Vancouver Island Therapeutic Cannabis Research Institute (VITCRI), a medicinal cannabis research and cultivation facility. VITCRI was a lab-style production and research facility designed to ensure a safe and standardized source of organic medicine for the 390 members of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society (, a long-standing Victoria non-profit compassion society. "This is devastating", stated Philippe Lucas, founder and Director of the VICS. "With Health Canada bumbling the production and distribution of cannabis, we've strived to ensure the safety and quality of the VICS product by testing it for cannabinoids, heavy metals, and biological impurities; with the execution of a single warrant all of our members have been thrown back into the vagaries and uncertainties of the black market." In a previous case involving the VICS, Lucas received an absolutely discharge and praise from the judge, who stated "Mr. Lucas enhanced other peoples lives at minimal or no risk to society.he provided that which the Government was unable to provide a safe and high quality supply of marijuana to those needing it for medicinal purposes."As a result of this police action against the VITCRI, that "safe and high quality supply" is no longer, and 2 men face serious charges for helping over 390 critically and chronically ill medicinal users.Since 90 % of Canadians support the medical use of cannabis, and with Health Canada clearly unable to meet it's commitments to Canada's medicinal users, why are taxpayer money, and police and court resources still wasted on the arrest and prosecution of medicinal cannabis users and producers? Contact:     Philippe Lucas 250-884-9821       phil 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 28, 2004 at 10:40:13 PT
Sad News from Canada
Vancouver Island Therapeutic Research Institute Raided 
 Begin forwarded message:05-28-2004 My friends, It pains me to announce that yesterday at around 1pm a warrant was served at the Vancouver Island Therapeutic Research Institute, an incredible lab-style breeding, research and production facility located about 40 minutes outside Victoria. Hundreds of plants, tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, and years of genetic breeding were seized, and serious charges were laid on 2 of our friends; so today 390 critically and chronically ill members of the VICS face a much more uncertain future, as we all must now turn back to the black-market to access our medicine. We will be devising a legal/press strategy shortly, and will keep you all posted. If you can help us to recover from this devestating blow in any way, please contact the VICS at: 250 381-8427; or call me at 250-884-9821. 
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on May 27, 2004 at 10:42:42 PT
The Charges Should Be Summarily Dismissed
' But in 2001, Smith said a police officer told him that police were aware of his operation and advised him to operate it more openly, from a storefront. The store opened on March 20, 2001.' Smith testified that for people to buy marijuana from the club they must show photo ID and some proof of chronic illness. The club has a membership list of more than 800 people. '
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on May 27, 2004 at 07:48:01 PT:
All because of a rookie cop and a busybody
Either said rookie is on the outs with his own department, or said busybody realized he had someone he could stonker and saw his chance to get his vicious digs in against sick people, I leave to the reader.
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