Volume 93, Issue 16

Friday, September 24, 1999


NEWS

Western to be no-show at rally

Western researchers going virtual

Stadium receives backing

Student federation's national campaign targets accessibility

Cannabis user to appear in court

Briefs

Quirks and Smirks

Caught on campus

Buzz Mecca

Cannabis user to appear in court



By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

The latest development in her ongoing struggle to legalize pot has a London resident appearing before the courts next week in what could be a turning point in her crusade.

London resident Lynn Harichy, founder of the now defunct London Cannabis Compassion Centre, said she was looking forward to her court date next Monday to face the charge of marijuana possession.

She said she believed the case would be dismissed and no charges would be laid in the incident which saw her arrested when she lit a joint on the steps of London Police Headquarters two years ago. "That's the deal that was made," she said.

She added her husband, Mike Harichy, will appear in court on Oct. 5 and 6 on the charges of possession and trafficking of marijuana. "It's going to be really interesting. A lot is going to come out at that trial because we were turned in by organized crime," she said.

Harichy, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, said she smokes a quarter ounce of marijuana a week on medical grounds to relieve her pain. She said she is fighting to be added to the list of only two people in the nation who are exempted from prosecution for the medical use of marijuana on compassionate grounds.

Reva Berman, spokesperson for Health Canada, said a current Health Canada provision allows qualified individuals to possess or cultivate marijuana for personal use.

One of the requirements under the provision is a physician's support, stating their illness is severely affecting their quality of life, she said, adding the illness need not be terminal to qualify for the exemption.

But, Berman stated the provision should not be mistaken for legalization of the drug. "Having provisions for exemption from prosecution is not the same thing as legalizing marijuana," she said.

Berman added Health Canada has received 90 applications for the exemption status, but only 20 of the applications are under review since the rest have been submitted with incomplete information. "It's being handled on a case-by-case basis. No one has been turned down yet," she said.

Although she would not comment on Harichy's case, Berman said Health Canada's reasons for allowing exemptions for medicinal marijuana usage are based on anecdotal evidence and the federal department has yet to conclude on research surrounding the drug's medicinal properties.

Kevin Laporte, auditing sergeant for the London Police, would not confirm whether or not Harichy's case would be "stayed." He said if the case were stayed, it would absolve Harichy of all charges. "For the case to be stayed, it essentially means it is just not proceeded with and no record is given. It's just filed away and that's the end of it," he said.

According to Harichy, she is also busy with a business South of the border and is pursuing the legalization of marijuana with a court case in Philadelphia. "I keep writing letters all the time. I have a class action lawsuit in the [United States] to sue the [U.S.] government for not letting us use marijuana," she said.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999