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Newshawk: How to be a MAP Newshawk (
Pubdate: Thu, 23 May 2002
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Frank Etherington
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


KITCHENER -- A Kitchener woman, who is allowed to smoke marijuana for medical reasons, is one of nine Canadians who will launch a civil lawsuit this week against the federal government in an effort to ease access to pot.

To be announced at a Queen's Park press conference tomorrow, the lawsuit will demand in Ontario's Superior Court of Justice that Catherine Devries, 44, of Kitchener, and other Canadians who have legal exemptions to smoke pot be given access to experimental marijuana crops grown by Health Canada.

Medicinal cannabis users from Burlington, Hamilton, Toronto and elsewhere in Canada along with several doctors will speak at the event.

The conference was organized at Queen's Park because users are too sick to travel to Ottawa.  In the lawsuit, Toronto lawyers Alan Young and Leora Shemesh will also ask judges to rule that pot laws are unconstitutional.

Devries, who suffers painful spine and bowel conditions, said yesterday the federal government has created the appearance that it has changed laws to help about 200 sick Canadians get access to cannabis.

"The Liberal government should stop the double talk and admit they're conning the public.  .  .  .  They say marijuana is available ( but ) they have no intention of providing it for medical reasons.  They have been growing crops in Flin Flon for two years, but now they don't want to dispense or distribute it."

Devries, who buys marijuana from Kitchener dealers or from compassion clubs in Toronto and London, said Ottawa should distribute cannabis through pharmacies the same way other narcotics are dispensed.

Shemesh said she and Young will argue marijuana legislation is unconstitutional because medicinal users of marijuana can't comply with a complex law that is difficult to understand.

She said doctors who are willing to prescribe marijuana to users have been warned by medical insurers they won't be covered if they do anything to provide cannabis. 

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