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Newshawk: Chris Clay
Source: Toronto Sun
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Feb 1998
Author: Dave Rider, the Toronto Sun


A Toronto "marijuana club" is openly selling pot to medicinal users, as will seven similar clubs about to sprout up across southern Ontario.

In a bold move they know will put them on a "collision course" with the law and possible life sentences for trafficking, pot activists held a press conference last night to announce their grand opening.

"We are not a band of back-alley drug dealers looking to make it big," said Neev Taiero, who's involved with the Toronto club, Medical Marijuana Resource Centre.

"MMRC exists because we believe that people are suffering unnecessarily."

The 50-member club has worked in the shadows for almost two years but will be openly affiliated with similar non-profit clubs starting in west Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, London, Guelph, Peterboro and Kitchener, said operator Warren Hitzig.

Members will be restricted to those with doctors' letters confirming they have cancer, AIDS/HIV, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, paraplegia/quadriplegia, epilepsy and intractable pain including arthritis.

But those with letters proving they have any other diseases alleviated by pot intake, as well as anyone over 65, can also get the free memberships, Hitzig said.

Each location will keep less than 30 grams of pot on hand and will deliver orders to members, charging "much less" than the street value of $90 for seven grams in Toronto and $50 for the same amount in London.

Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young said the clubs fill the gap between the user and a recent Ontario court ruling -- now under appeal -- that the government can't deny medicinal marijuana to Toronto epileptic Terry Parker.

"( But ) any way you slice or dice it this is probably an illegal activity ..  an act of civil disobedience," said Young.

The People With AIDS Foundation of Toronto approves of the clubs, saying appetite-inducing pot can mean the difference between "normal" life and skeletal death.

The central-east Toronto club has no permanent address, while the clubs in west Toronto, Mississauga and Oakville will operate out of The Hidden Jungle hemp stores.

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