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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN NS: Marijuana User Gets Absolute Discharge
Title:CN NS: Marijuana User Gets Absolute Discharge
Published On:2012-01-18
Source:Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Fetched On:2012-01-19 06:04:12

Court Told Bone Cancer Victim, Charged With Possession After Police
Found 108 Grams, Now Has Licence to Use Drug to Relieve the Pain of Her Disease

YARMOUTH - A woman who drinks marijuana-laced tea to fight severe
cancer pain was granted an absolute discharge Tuesday by a judge
after cops raided her Yarmouth home last year, looking for dope.

"I'm terribly pleased," said Heather Lent as she left Yarmouth
provincial court, walking with a cane and taking short, measured
steps. "I had my anxieties along the way."

Lent was charged with possession of marijuana after police discovered
108 grams of marijuana in her fridge and in her bedroom on April 9.

Lent, 52, suffers from bone cancer and finds it painful to move. She
has no criminal record.

She said someone who visited her home snitched on her.

"Within a couple of days the cops came and they kicked our doors in.
They must have thought there was something going on there."

The RCMP showed up at her Cliff Street apartment with a search
warrant. "I told them where it was when they came in. I said it's in
the bedroom. It's in my fridge."

The search netted some marijuana, two scales and some related items.

Then she showed police some of her X-rays.

Lent said her health is not good. "I started with a tumour on my knee
and then it moved up."

She has already had a knee and hip replacement. "I'm in a whole lot of pain."

Lent said she drinks the marijuana in a tea and it works better than
any prescription painkiller she's ever tried.

She said her doctor urged her several years ago to begin using
marijuana for pain.

"At this time the accused had no medical marijuana licence from
Health Canada but I understand she now does," Crown attorney Hugh
Robichaud told the court.

The prosecution proposed a conditional discharge involving probation
to reflect a general deterrent.

Although Lent did not possess a valid marijuana licence at the time
of the police raid, Judge Robert Prince wanted to know if she would
have been eligible to have one. Defence lawyer Phil Star said yes.

He said his client, who relies on social assistance for her monthly
income, has bone cancer and has undergone eight surgeries.

A medical marijuana certificate allows the licence holder to possess
up to 90 grams of the pain-relieving drug, said the Crown attorney.

The judge said Lent had slightly more than she would have been
allowed with a licence.

"There was some mention of the issue of deterrence. . . . In my view
the issue of deterrence in this particular circumstance is not . . . paramount.

"Considering all of the circumstances . . . I'm satisfied that an
absolute discharge is appropriate," said Prince.

It was difficult to get a medical marijuana licence, Lent said
outside the courtroom.

"They sent me back everything, like three times. I think that they go
through a little red tape hoping some people will forget it," she
said of the federal agency responsible for distributing the licences.

Lent finally received her licence in November after repeated
attempts. She can purchase pot from a registered grower or buy it
online in 90-gram packs.

"Other people who have licences are growing. That's how I do it," she
said about obtaining her supplies.
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