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N.S. man seeks right to marijuana behind bars

By Hempology | September 10, 2002

From The Globe and Mail, September 6th, 2002

By Kevin Cox

A Halifax man who is facing several years in prison for possessing and trafficking in
marijuana is demanding that the federal government provide the drug to him as pain relief
behind bars.

Mike Patriquen, who was arrested in 1999, says he should not be sentenced to federal jail until
the Correctional Service of Canada comes up with a marijuana supply.

He said outside a Nova Scotia Supreme Court hearing yesterday that three doctors say that he
requires marijuana to alleviate pain in his neck and back from a car accident three years ago.

Mr. Patriquen, 49, a well-known activist for the legalization and medical use of
marijuana, is facing several years in jail for his role in a scheme to grow and sell marijuana
in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

But he said he should not start serving that time until the correctional service can assure
him that he’ll be able to obtain marijuana.

In July, Mr. Patriquen obtained two federal exemptions allowing him to grow, possess and use
marijuana for medicinal purposes. He said other pain-killing drugs failed to provide relief.

Mr. Patriquen is one of more than 800 Canadians to hold such permits, but is believed to be
the first person to claim the right to use medical marijuana behind bars. His lawyer, Warren
Zimmer, argued yesterday that sentencing should be adjourned to allow a hearing on whether the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Mr. Patriquen the right to use marijuana in prison.

Crown prosecutor James Martin said the correctional service should be allowed to develop its
own rules on marijuana use and that Mr. Patriquen’s appeal is only delaying sentencing. He added
Mr. Patriquen should wait until he is sentenced to challenge an institution’s rules about access
to marijuana.

Madam Justice Suzanne Hood will rule on the case Sept. 10.

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