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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN ON: HIV Sufferer To Appeal For Right To Grow Medical Pot
Title:CN ON: HIV Sufferer To Appeal For Right To Grow Medical Pot
Published On:2011-11-28
Source:Toronto Star (CN ON)
Fetched On:2011-12-03 06:00:54

A Toronto man prohibited from growing marijuana for medical purposes
will seek to overturn a city bylaw prohibiting grow-ops.

William Palmer, 48, who suffers from HIV and has a licence to possess
medical marijuana, was charged in 2008 when the marijuana plants he
was growing in his Toronto Community Housing unit were deemed a fire

The charges were dropped in provincial court Monday by the Crown on
the grounds that "it is not in the interest of justice to pursue this
matter." But Palmer and his lawyer, Paul Lewin, said they will appeal
to Superior Court next spring to have the city bylaw struck down as a
contravention of the Charter of Rights.

Lewin described his client's predicament as a "Catch-22." Although
marijuana alleviates nausea and other symptoms caused by HIV
medication, medical marijuana is not subsidized by the Ontario
Disability Support Program, the same program that covers Palmer's HIV
drugs. At the same time, the city bylaw prevents Palmer from growing
his own pot for medicinal purposes.

"No one should have to choose between their health and the law," Lewin

In court, Palmer went so far as to ask the judge if he could rent a
room in the Old City Hall courthouse to grow medical marijuana.

"That's the point I'm at right now. All I'm getting is systematic
abuse," said Palmer, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1997 and received
his medical marijuana licence two years later.

In addition to seeking to overturn the city's bylaw prohibiting
grow-ops, Lewin said his client will also sue to recover approximately
$50,000 in damages from marijuana plants that were lost when the hydro
was turned off in Palmer's Toronto Community Housing unit.

Palmer said he lived without power for 18 months, before moving into
his father's neighbouring apartment. He is a member of the Church of
the Universe, which has argued that the use of marijuana is a
religious sacrament.
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