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Sharing is Trafficking by Ted Smith

By Hempology | January 6, 2005

On Jan. 20, Justice Kay decided that the law allowing police to charge someone with trafficking for sharing cannabis is not grossly disproportionate to the fundamental principles of justice.

This decision stems from an undercover operation on Nov. 8, 2000 when police pretended to be students at the weekly 4:20 meeting of the University of Victoria Hempology 101 Club where they collected a roach from a joint I passed out and arrested me later in the parking lot. I was charged with trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking (PPT).

A constitutional question notice was filed soon after 1 was charged which claimed the state had violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by arresting me in this manner. Lawyer Robert Moore-Stewart argued with me that Sections 2. 7, 9, 11, and 15 of the Charter were breached by police and that their sweeping powers granted to them with this law are arbitrary and engender disrespect for the law. While our arguments failed at the Provincial Court level, the fight now moves to higher levels of justice. An appeal will be filed against this decision, as I am prepared to fight this law all die way to the Supreme Court of Canada. One of the arguments 1 presented in court was that cannabis has far more benefits than potential harm for the average person. Dr. James Geiwitz provided expert testimony which supported my claims that cannabis is generally healthy and benign, while also challenging misconceptions about the potential harms cannabis may cause to certain vulnerable groups.

In a decision laid down Dec. 23. 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that the main goal of the cannabis law is to protect youth, addicts, mental health patients, pregnant women, and people suffering from heart and lung problems from the harmful effects of cannabis. The main argument that Caine/ Clay/ Malmo-Levine used was referred to as the ‘Harm Principle.” based upon John Stewart Mill’s assertions that the government should not harm people who are not harming anyone else except potentially themselves.

Since alcohol and tobacco are legally available, it was argued that the government has been arbitrary and inconsistent with the creation and implementation of the cannabis laws. The Supreme Court denied that the government can make any drug illegal which has potential harms, even if legal drugs are more dangerous. On March 14 I am facing another trial for being arrested before an annual cannabis cookie give-away on Nov 15. 2000. The year before police watched as I gave away 101 cookies at the library to celebrate International Medical Marijuana Day on Nov 15. 1999. The next year there was no chance for me to give away a cookie before police grabbed me and arrested me with possession for the purpose of trafficking. This trial has also been delayed for constitutional arguments to be heard at the Supreme Court level before beginning. We will argue that I was giving away health food, which had many medical benefits with few potential harmful side effects, which should not be a crime as I was enhancing public health and safety.

Topics: CD-5th, Winter 2005 | Comments Off

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