MAN TOKES CHANCE WITH JOINT EFFORT
Shot At Pot Club Runs Afoul Of Law
How far would you go to show compassion?
An Ottawa man is wading into murky waters as he tries to set up a not-for-profit club to discreetly supply medicinal marijuana to ailing members.
"It's going to provide a clean supply of cannabis at below street-level prices," said Paul, who asked that only his first name be used.
But local law enforcement officials say Paul's plan could land him in trouble.
"It's illegal," said Ottawa Police Sgt. Monique Ackland. "To get off the ground without the proper paperwork, he's going to be arrested and charged with possession with intent."
The Ottawa Valley Compassion Club, as it's known, is based on the Toronto Compassion Centre, one of many medicinal marijuana groups that have sprung up across North America. To sign up, dial 863-2595 and leave your details with the answering system.
Your call will be returned by Paul, who is accepting members who hold a Health Canada exemption to grow and possess marijuana, suffer an illness for which marijuana can offer relief, or possess a doctor's prescription for marijuana.
Membership would be free and come with the promise of up to 2 oz. of marijuana per month at bulk-order reduced prices.
Paul, who uses marijuana to treat his bipolar disorder ( manic-depression ), said he decided to start a club a month ago so people like him don't have to go to Toronto for medicine. As of yesterday, his membership list included just himself and a friend.
"What I really want to do is get some people who want to join the club," said Paul, insisting he's not breaking the law.
'IT'S STILL TRAFFICKING'
But Raymond Turmel, a Gatineau man who's appealing an 18-month jail sentence for growing and distributing marijuana to sick people, doesn't see things the same way.
"Compassion or no compassion, it's still trafficking! I'm going to jail for it ... but I wish him luck," he said yesterday.
Turmel said most sick people can't afford marijuana at any marked-down price and he doubts Paul has the money and expertise to get a compassion club off the ground.
Turmel recommends Paul first go to police.
"The very first thing this guy should do is see the Ottawa police," he said. "He should say: 'Here's what I plan to do to help the sick people. Do you have any objections?' "