WebPosted Fri Apr 13 08:52:51 2001
OTTAWA - People hoping to get permission to use marijuana for medical purposes may have a new tool for cutting through Health Canada's red tape – an ultimatum.
"I've been waiting three months, and I just don't know why they're making me wait that long," said Robert Neron, who has a doctor's prescription to use pot for his painful muscle spasms. "I've had enough of waiting."
The federal government just last week announced its plans to rewrite the rules for medical uses of marijuana, something it has to do by July 31 or see the entire pot possession law go up in smoke.
The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled last summer the law in its current incarnation is unconstitutional and set a deadline for new rules to be put in place.
When Neron's lawyer faxed in his application for an exemption from prosecution under the law, the RCMP responded by conducting a raid and seizing a six-month supply of marijuana. Charges have been put on hold until Health Canada makes a decision on his eligibility to use it.
On Thursday, Justice Paul Rouleau said it's been long enough. He told Neron and Dupuis to give the government an ultimatum, which he will back up.
It's a welcome development for advocates of medical uses of marijuana. John Turmel, for one, calls it a "major victory."
An official with Health Canada said the agency won't comment on specific cases, but pointed out that each application takes time to assess.
Dupuis and Neron
have faxed their ultimatums to the attorney general's office.
Written by CBC News Online staff