August 8, 2000 11:57 am EST
TORONTO (Reuters) - A U.S. think-tank funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros helped support a Toronto man's fight to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, media reports said on Tuesday.
The National Post daily newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Lindesmith Center gave more than $25,000 to help pay the legal costs of Terry Parker, who uses the drug to ease the effects of severe epilepsy. Parker successfully fought for his right to use the drug for medicinal purposes.
Last month, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Parker's right to use marijuana and declared the cannabis law to be unconstitutional. The court also ordered the Canadian parliament to rewrite the legislation within 12 months allowing legitimate patients to obtain medicinal cannabis.
According to the National Post, the Lindesmith Center, which operates a $125,000 annual defense fund to finance the legal costs of those seeking changes to drug laws, provided more than $25,000 over a two-year period to cover Parker's day-to-day legal expenses and the costs associated with providing expert witnesses.
Earlier this year, the Lindesmith Center merged with the Drug Policy
Foundation to form a powerful group to advocate alternative drug policies.