Toronto
2 min

PWA caregivers arrested

Jim Wakeford continues his medical marijuana fight

TRAPPED. Jim Wakeford can't help his help. Credit: Jan Becker

One of Jim Wakeford’s caregivers has been convicted of giving marijuana to him – which he’s legally allowed to possess.



But no one’s legally allowed to give it to Wakeford.



“Two of many caregivers were busted,” says Wakeford. “One has been charged and convicted already for several thousand dollars. The second person’s case is still before the courts.”



Wakeford sued the federal government in Ontario Superior Court for legal access to pot on compassionate grounds, and immunity for his caregivers. The decision was rendered on Apr 12, and he lost.



Wakeford (a longtime gay activist) has AIDS, and needs the pot to ease nausea and help him eat. He says it’s keeping him alive.



But he’s been placed in a half-way-there position by the federal

government.



After winning a Section 56 dispensation from Health Minister Allan Rock to use marijuana (which also required a court case), he is forbidden by law to acquire it from any other source.



When he asks someone to purchase some on his behalf, they are in danger of being arrested for trafficking.



“The judge ruled that I had no trouble getting marijuana, that I was

perfectly capable of growing it myself, indeed I had not tried hard

enough. And I should be growing my own and I do not require help and

that prosecutions will continue.



“The right to use without legal access, and the right to grow with no

legal help, is what my lawyers call right without remedy. I established my constitutional right in 1999, and in 2000 I sought remedy. I lost this round, but there will be an appeal. I have to raise $15,000 quickly,” says Wakeford.



In a twist to the story, the health minister is looking to score.



Rock issued an official call last week to the country’s marijuana growers: the government needs some good, homegrown pot. Rock called for proposals to establish a “Canadian source of quality,

standardized, affordable, research-grade marijuana” for clinical trials of the drug’s therapeutic value.



The contractor will be required to maintain quality control of the pot, properly store it and distribute to the nation’s 37 eligible recipients (all granted a Section 56 exemption). Rock agreed to therapeutic marijuana trials following lengthy lobbying on

behalf of Canadians suffering from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, manic depression, cancer and AIDS.



“What the public doesn’t know is that any experienced grower with a

criminal record will not be eligible,” says Wakeford.



“For any experienced grower who would like to apply, there is no guarantee that they won’t be criminalized. I’ve heard that a couple of hemp farmers may bid to add a crop of marijuana to their farms.”



Canada was one of the first countries to legalize hemp for clothing and papermaking in 1998; growers are not allowed to produce anything with a THC content above a certain amount (THC is what gives you the high). Donations can be sent, in trust, to Jim Wakeford, 540 Church St., suite 311, Toronto M4Y 2E1