Volume 92, Issue 2

Friday, May 22, 1998

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Just not enough pot to go around

Gazette Staff

London's Cannabis Compassion Club is up and running despite opposition from the London Police Department and the mayor.

The club, which opened May 1, offers membership to people who suffer from a medical condition whose symptoms have been known to be alleviated by the effects of marijuana.

Lynn Harichy, club owner, said the club currently has over 20 members and is growing. "There are more people than I expected and more are coming every day," she said.

Membership can only be acquired by a doctor's note, proving the extent of one's medical condition, said Harichy. "Doctors are being really good – they've been recommending people to us because they're starting to see this is a real necessity," she added.

Harichy said the club has not encountered any direct problems with the police, however, Harichy admitted some of their suppliers have been arrested. "We've had no problems with the police but I suspect it's going to happen. We must find a way to get medicinal users out of the same light as criminals – we're not criminals," she said.

Harichy added her biggest problem right now is a shortage in supply because of the arrests. "We've had to turn people away because they're not as sick as others – two of our members are dying," she said.

Sgt. John O'Flaherty of the LPD, said while no direct action has been taken against the club thus far, he is certain it is on the drug squad's list. "We look at it as people dealing drugs, they can put any name they want on it," he said.

O'Flaherty added the club is trying to legitimize drug use by giving it a name and said it is only a matter of time before they are caught. "I would imagine at some point they'll get very active and the drug squad will be looking at them," he said.

London Mayor Dianne Haskett said although she hasn't heard of any action taken against the club so far, she still opposes its existence. "Right now it's just one more thing to look into," she said.

Harichy said even if she is arrested it will not stop her from running her club. "People don't understand how hard it is to live with a handicap – I know what I'm doing is right," she said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998