WebPosted Tue Dec 5 04:47:40 2000
OAK BAY, B.C. - A Victoria-area club that supplies marijuana to people suffering from a variety of conditions is set to reopen on Tuesday, two weeks after it was raided by police.
When Oak Bay police raided the Victoria Island Compassion Society, they
said it was a headquarters for drug trafficking.
But Philippe Lucas, who runs the club, says he helps people with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis – all conditions he says pot has been shown to help.
The club says it a non-profit organization incorporated a year ago, and that it is a referral-only operation.
Lucas says some of the clients have special exemptions from Health Canada that allow them to smoke pot for medical reasons. And he says the cops know it.
"In essence, (the police are) telling them to go break further laws, to go downtown, to go where they can, and buy whatever safe or unsafe medicine they need," said Lucas.
The situation illustrates the problems with the rules surrounding medical marijuana – it's illegal to sell pot, even to people who are allowed to use it.
The police say they can't turn a blind eye to trafficking, even in a compassion club.
But people who advocate legalizing marijuana say that's not true.
"They have a great deal of discretion," said Richard Cowan. "Take the case of Vancouver. The (Compassion Club) here has been operating quite successfully for a number of years."
Health Canada has tendered a contract for the country's first legal crop of marijuana.
And after a ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal earlier this year,
Ottawa has a matter of months to rewrite its laws on marijuana.