December 2004

Dear Friends and Family,

After five years, we have returned from where we started:  a ski resort.  It's been a long haul, but amazing things have happened since last years crashing low from the Refugee Board's decision.  Thankfully, we've found the resources and support to challenge the Refugee Board and put a stay on any actions to have us removed from Canada.  More importantly, we've found a cure for all of our legal problems and now have a lawyer, Bill McPike in California along with our legal expert, Ed Pearson here in Canada, preparing to force the Placer Court to throw out the convictions against Steve.

How did this happen?  In the process of filing in Federal Court in Canada for another Immigration hearing, we discovered that there was a glaring error in our case in Placer County.  The prosecution did not give us a key piece of discovery - the NADIS report from the DEA which accused Peter Brady, a reporter, of being a Jamaican drug dealer. 

It was because of this report that the judge signed our search warrant and felt we were selling marijuana.  We have evidence to prove that there never was a NADIS report.  When the judge realizes that a fraud has been perpetuated against the court, he will have to throw out the convictions against Steve and his record will be wiped clean.  We've created the motion and Bill McPike is going to carry the ball.

As it stands now, Placer has written us asking if we would like some of our property returned.  Steve has just signed a power of attorney giving Bill McPike the authority to collect our possessions.  Hopefully he can get our marijuana equipment returned as well as our old pot.  He is making amazing headway in the medical marijuana legal front getting property returned to patients.  We are looking forward to righting the wrongs done against us.

On the Canadian legal front, I won a victory for us in Federal Court when I filed a motion to continue our Refugee Case in "forma pauperis".  Five years of the grind have taken their toll and we have just enough resources left to pay for me to file in court, make copies and pay for gas to get to the court.  So far, the Federal Court is still considering whether to grant us a hearing to review the Refugee decision.  I have also filed a petition in the Supreme Court of British Columbia asking a question of law.  I'm asking the court where the criminal justice system of Canada continues to have the authority to act upon the marijuana laws when the courts have declared the prohibition against marijuana to be unconstitutional.  I am just waiting to get a hearing date.  Doesn't look like that will happen until March.  The wheels of justice move slowly, but that just gives me more time to prepare.

A lot of this year was spent growing medical cannabis, thanks to Health Canada and the awesome assistance of Advanced Nutrients.  It was exciting to be a part of this important scientific research that is being conducted by Advanced Nutrients.  Advanced is helping medical marijuana patients by researching their nutrients on actual marijuana plants.  Our garden also appeared on national TV, both in the USA  and Canada.

We've also been working closely with Dr. Joseph Connors of the B.C. Cancer Agency.  Dr. Connors is a highly respected physician and scientist who has become very supportive of Steve's case.  As a result of working with Steve, Dr. Connors has come to realize that cannabis is the best medicine for Steve and therefore supports Steve getting as much as he needs.  As a result, Steve has the largest exemption in Canada, and probably the world. 

Steve's health has certainly been a concern for those of us close to him.  Steve had a lot of physical problems this year, due to stress and his health seemed to be going from bad to worse.  I'm pleased to tell you however, that we've put Steve on a new program and his health is rapidly returning.

Much of Steve's stress resulted from a rather sudden eviction from our home in Sechelt, even though we hadn't done anything wrong and were in full compliance with the law.  Our landlord found someone to buy the house and told us we had to leave, something that is not legal under B.C. law.  When we resisted, she claimed that our grow operation was illegally wired and a whole host of other unfounded allegations. We decided to fight her allegations, but the B.C. Tenancy Board ruled against us because our case involved marijuana.  We were forced to leave within 72 hours.  At that point our Canadian friends decided that they wanted to step in and help out.  They arraigned for us to set up Steve's garden in a secure location and helped relocate us in Sun Peaks, a ski resort in the interior of British Columbia. 

When we first arrived at Sun Peaks, Steve was so weak that he could barely walk across the parking lot to the lifts.  It took several weeks to get Steve to a point where he could walk for half an hour.  Now, he is skiing over 10,000 vertical feet a day.  He's swimming, too in the Sun Peaks Sport Center's pool.  Our family is very grateful that Steve has this opportunity to rest and recover.  Through everything we have endured, keeping our family together happily and healthily has been our top priority.

Moving to Sun Peaks has also been great for our girls.  The move was very sudden and quite traumatic, especially for our littlest, Crystal.  I'm happy to report that she is quickly adjusting to her new routine and just celebrated her fifth birthday.  Brooke has taken to skiing like a duck to water.  She wants to be out on the snow everyday.  It is magical to be back in a ski resort, it is our roots.  We are going to enjoy our white Christmas and skiing.  We're exploring ideas of starting another ski magazine venture, maybe even video, but right now we are recovering and resting up for whatever new adventture awaits us.

Just coming here and skiing didn't seem to be enough though, so we've created a goal for ourselves.  We are going to ski 1,000,000 vertical feet, to celebrate Steve's 30th year of surviving cancer.  This should make people stop and think twice about writing off a medical marijuana patient.  As of the writing of this letter, we are at 150,000 vertical feet.  The locals are quite impressed with our efforts.  Skiiing  a million vertical feet will require us to ski 100 days and is a serious challenge for the best of skiers.

We had a very special visit from my family this holiday season.  Due to health concerns for her parent's, my Mom hasn't been able to visit us for two and a half years.  On December 8th, that changed.  I picked up my parent's at the Kamloops Airport and they stayed with us for six days. 

Grandma and Grandpa's visit was a very special gift for Crystal's birthday.  We took them up on a chair lift for their very first time and Dad swam in a pool while it was snowing. The grandkids have also inspired my parents to try skiing next year.  Miracle of miracles!  I understand grandkids can have a huge impact on grandparents, however, my mother is a sworn snow hater so to get her to want to actually slide on it astounds me.  Sun Peaks is a special place, though, and the weather has a lot to do with it.  We get hardly any wind.  Makes for great snow!

Our girls are coming along with their home schooling.  Brooke is beginning to read books and is quite good with numbers.  Crystal is still a bit young for reading, but she can spell all of our names.  She is looking forward to opening a bank account because she can spell her first and last name.  Taking them out on the ski hill for the first time reminded both Steve and myself of the joys of learning to ski and that it is never to late to have a happy childhood.

We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season.  We have our health and time to reconnect as a family.  I hope that you have the same opportunity during your holiday season.

Here's to wishing you peace, prosperity and joy in the New Year!

Michele and Steve