Volume 92, Issue 9

Thursday, September 17, 1998

service with a smile


Goin' after the big boys

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Summer has come and gone with little incident for one of London's newest and most controversial centres – the London Cannabis Compassion Club.

The club has spent the summer selling small doses of marijuana to people who are able to produce medical documentation proving they suffer from a physical affliction with symptoms which can be reduced by the effects of the drug.

Peter Young, owner of the downtown retail store Organic Traveller and LCCC sympathizer, said conversations which took place over the summer with the London Police Department revealed the club is not a priority for them as long as there is no public outcry. "We will be watched but not harassed," he said.

Young added the LCCC and clubs similar to it in Kitchener and Toronto are doing exceptionally well and was disappointed London Mayor Dianne Haskett has not offered her support. "She is more capable of hiding than representing, she doesn't like to speak on public policy."

Haskett said while she had not heard of any arrests over the summer she expected it would only be a matter of time. "I expect the police will enforce the law appropriately," Haskett said.

Sgt. John O'Flaherty of the LPD said right now their drug unit has worse problems in the city to deal with. "There are only so many resources, so many people and so many dollars to go around," he said.

Until the criminal code is changed at the federal level, what this club is doing is illegal, Haskett said.

O'Flaherty said the police are in a difficult position because half of London wants them to do something and the other half doesn't. He also said problems could arise if the law is not strictly enforced.

It doesn't matter whether or not some doctors say to go ahead and use the drug to help your symptoms, O'Flaherty said. "It doesn't make it right in the eyes of the law."

LCCC owner Lynn Harichy could not be reached for comment as she suffers from multiple sclerosis and underwent surgery recently.

O'Flaherty added he has no doubt the drug squad will eventually pay the club a visit because as long as the law is the way it is, it must be enforced.

"Harichy and her husband may be crusaders, but they will be crusaders with a criminal record at some point."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998