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City pushes for medical marijuana decision

By Hempology | November 15, 2002

From the Times Colonist, November 15th, 2002

By Richard Watts

Today is International Medical Marijuana Day, but Victoria city fathers accuse the federal government
of failing to enter the spirit of the occasion.

Mayor Alan Lowe said Thursday he was happy to sign the proclamation. After all, the city passed a resolution
last April calling for changes to the federal marijuana laws, especially for people with incurable medical

The city’s proclamation encourages “everyone to act with tolerance, compassion and understanding towards
individuals who need cannabis to relieve their pain and symptoms from permanent medical problems.”

But Lowe said he is getting a little miffed with Ottawa’s foot-dragging on accepting an invitation from
the city to come and explain its position on medical marijuana.

“We’ve been trying to get them here for the last four to six months,” said Lowe.

“We want more information about what the federal government is doing about this issue.”

In its most recent reply, received tihs month, the federal government said it couldn’t send anyone until
next year at the earliest.

Ottawa has announced it will examine whether marijuana should be allowed for people who suffer from
certain illnesses. Some people have been given special permission to smoke it, but routine possession
and trafficking remain illegal.

Proponents of the medical use of marijuana maintain it can reduce or eliminate the seizures associated
with conditions such as epilepsy. They say it can stimulate appetites for patients suffering nausea from
chemotherapy or from HIV. And it can just act as a relaxant for people in dire medical straits.

But proponents also object to the federal government allowing marijuana for medical use on one hand
but keeping its routine possession or distribution illegal.

Ted Smith, now running for mayor of Victoria, is facing some half-dozen traffickign charges for
distributing marijuana to people he says require it for medical reasons.

Smith said the city’s proclamation making today International Medical Marijuana Day will help force the
federal government to deal with its own legal contradiction. “It means Canada will either have to hail us
as heroes or treat us as criminals.”

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