Letter to Health Canada about RCMP illegally seizing and destroying Steve's medical marihuana - despite exemption

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"This is no more about Marijuana than the Boston Tea Party was about Tea."

5823 Marine Way, Sechelt BC V0N3A6

February 5, 2004

Director General Beth Pieterson
Health Canada
Director General's Office
123 Slater Street,
Ottawa, Ontario Canada  K1A 0K9
Telephone: (613) 946-6484
Fax: (613) 946-6460

Re: Request for letter to clarify rights of exemptees in public places

Dear Director General Pieterson,

I am writing you at the direction of Cheryl Anderson, regarding a matter of serious urgency.  We experienced an incident yesterday where a police officer seized my husband's legal medicine and destroyed it, even though the officer acknowledged that my husband is a federal exemptee.  Due to the serious and explosive nature of my husband's illness, your urgent assistance is needed to resolve this matter immediately.

The incident began yesterday when we went for a hike at Cliff Gilker Park on the Sunshine Coast of BC, as part of my husband Steve's daily therapy to help burn off his excessive and toxic levels of adrenaline.  No one was there when we arrived and Steve went out in the woods to medicate. He was sick from the drive and he is also under doctor's orders to use medical marijuana on an hourly basis to combat his dangerously high adrenaline levels.

While there, he saw a hiker and two dogs approaching and took an alternate trail.  The hiker then altered his course and came upon Steve while he was medicating.  The hiker asked if it was pot that he smelled and Steve said yes.  The hiker then grabbed Steve's only joint and crushed it on the ground.  

When Steve asked, "What are you doing?", the hiker responded that he was a police officer and that he knew who Steve was but that he didn't have the right to smoke in a public place.

Steve said, "Excuse me?"  

The undercover 'officer', (we put this is quotes because Steve started having a blood pressure attack during the confrontation and was too sick to ask to see some I.D.), said that it was against the Controlled Substances Act for Steve to smoke in a public place and "this park is a public place."  He added that he had been watching Steve.  

Steve protested that he was nauseous and sick and needed that medicine, but the hiker/officer said that the smell of the marijuana made him nauseous and offended him.  The hiker/officer then warned Steve not to smoke in any public places again and left.

Moments after the 'officer' left, I arrived and saw that my husband was no longer smoking and looked quite ill.  After Steve told me what had happened, I was very disturbed that an undercover officer would confront my husband on a wilderness trail and deprive him of medicine that he needs to stay alive.  It is no different than taking insulin from a diabetic.  I found this confrontation to be an unwarranted and reckless threat to my husband's health.  

I then went directly to the local RCMP office in Sechelt, to file a complaint.  The woman behind the counter took all of my information, and then went to find an officer to talk to me. She came back and informed me that all officers were in a meeting and couldn't speak with me.  She added that they had told her it was against the law for Steve to smoke in public.  This alarms me greatly, so I confirmed this again, today with Cheryl Anderson and again she told me that Steve is exempt from Federal law and can consume medical marijuana in public places subject to local and provincial law.

Ms. Pieterson, we need a letter from your office confirm that Steve's medicine is not to be seized and that it is not a violation of Federal Law for him to use medical marijuana in a public place.  

It is very important that we keep Steve on his daily exercise plan to control his blood pressure.  My husband is a walking time bomb and is especially vulnerable to stress.  For him to have to worry about undercover narcotics agents hiding in the bush is a violation of our Charter Rights and reflects poorly upon the ability of Health Canada to protect legal exemptees.


Michele Kubby