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Smith found guilty of trafficking but avoids record

By Hempology | January 14, 2005

BY RICHARD WATTS Times Colonist staff

Ted Smith, Victorias self-appointed champion of medical marijuana, was convicted Friday of drug trafficking.
Provincial court Judge L. Jeanne Harvey convicted Smith, 35, on a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking in cannabis resin, following two days of evidence. He was handed a nine-month conditional discharge.

Smith is the founder of Victorias Cannabis Buyers Club. Its an operation generally called a compassion club. These clubs exist to supply members with a supply of marijuana to use as medicine for various conditions or diseases like arthritis or epilepsy.
The charge against Smith arose from a March 21, 2002, search of the clubs Johnson Street offices. Police seized marijuana, cookies, massage oils, salves and oil-filled capsules called Ryanol.
The cookies, oils and salves were tested by Health Canada and shown to include cannabis resin, a prohibited substance.
This was the second trial for Smith. Last September, a charge of trafficking in marijuana against him was stayed.
At that time, B.C. provincial court Judge Loretta Chaperon said the charge came at a time when government had approved marijuana as medicine but failed to identify a source.
This inconsistency led her to stay the charge.
The charge Chaperon dealt with arose from a search less than three months before the search that earned Smith his Friday conviction.
Prompted by Chaperons decision, prosecutor Michael Lawless announced at the outset of this most recent case the Crown would be staying a marijuana charge. But the Crown followed through with the cannabis resin charge for the cookies, oil, ointment and capsules.
During the trial, Smith testified he made the products by steeping marijuana leaves in various oils or butter and heating them in a double boiler. After they were strained, these oils were bottled, poured into capsules or used to bake the cookies.
Also testifying for Smith were three people who said they used the products to treat a variety of debilitating ailments or conditions.
But Harvey was critical of Smiths defence, saying he seemed determined to offer evidence or testimony about marijuana when he was charged with possessing cannabis resin.
Government has not declared cannabis resin to be legal as medicine. It remains a prohibited substance under the law.
But Harvey said the defence had offered no testimony from experts to explain what cannabis resin is or even where it comes from. And Harvey said she heard no legal arguments or expert testimony to suggest cannabis resin deserves the same exemption as marijuana.
There is no right to possess cannabis resin according to the law. There is no right, there is no exemption, she said, just prior to sentence.
If you thought I was going to make an exemption without hearing expert evidence then that was extremely naive, Harvey told Smith.
As she delivered her sentence the judge rejected calls from the Crown for a conditional sentence, which automatically would have given him a record. If Smith abides by his conditions, his record will be clear.
Harvey made a point of not putting any conditions that would forbid Smith from contact or activity with the club. The only condition on his discharge is the standard one declaring he is to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
I dont look upon you as a dangerous man. I look upon you as someone who is trying to change the law, said Harvey.
All your motives are pure, altruistic compassionate and you are not making any money at this, she said.

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