More MS news articles for September 2002

Jailed man 'in serious pain' without his pot, wife says

Wednesday, September 25, 2002
By Rachel Boomer
The Daily News
Pot activist Michael Patriquen has lost 12 pounds since being jailed and kept away from his medical marijuana, says his wife, who’s hoping an appeal court will send him home.

“I can tell in his voice that he’s in serious pain. I’m extremely worried about his health,” Melanie Stephen told reporters Tuesday.

She said Patriquen can’t keep food down because of the pain, and the Tylenol he’s been giving hasn’t helped.

“If this situation is not rectified, my husband is going to come out of a federal (institution) crippled, and I don’t believe that’s what the Canadian government had in mind.”

She’s hoping to appeal Patriquen’s six-year sentence, even though she can’t afford to hire a lawyer. She wants Patriquen to serve a conditional sentence, allowing him to grow and smoke pot at home.

“It’s quite ridiculous to think that the federal government will grant him his medication (marijuana) in prison,” said Stephen.

Two weeks ago, Patriquen, 49, was sentenced to six years in prison for conspiring to traffic marijuana in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. He’s been at the federal prison in Springhill since Sept. 13.

Patriquen, who has a criminal record dating back to 1976, was part of a marijuana ring that operated in the two provinces in 1998 and 1999.

He holds federal licences to grow and possess pot for medicinal use. He smokes two grams daily to dull the pain caused by a damaged nerve in his neck from a 1999 car accident.

The burly, mustachioed man had asked Nova Scotia Supreme Court to delay his sentence until he could get the drug in jail, but was denied.

Corrections Canada says they know of no other inmate with a pot permit, and can’t give him marijuana in jail.

Debbie Stultz-Giffin, who has multiple sclerosis, smokes four grams of marijuana daily to increase her appetite and quell the chronic muscle spasms that come with the disease.

The Bridgetown, Annapolis Co., woman said she “stood in the kitchen and cried” when she heard about Patriquen’s sentence.

“(Medicinal marijuana users) shouldn’t be … consuming very valuable time that specialists could be spending with other patients, when we’ve already discovered what works for us,” Stultz-Giffin said.

© Copyright  2002 The Daily News