Pubdate: Fri, 09 Mar 2001
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2001 The Toronto Star
Contact:  One Yonge St., Toronto ON, M5E 1E6
Fax: (416) 869-4322
Author: Peter McNeil
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Re Marijuana seized from Toronto AIDS patient, March 3.

Jim Wakeford is no drug dealer.

Two hundred cannabis plants is pretty excessive, except that they were only 
five centimetres tall. In all, the police seized about two ounces of 
seedlings. Almost half of these seedlings will be males, which produce a 
minimum of THC and are generally destroyed.

Wakeford, an AIDS patient and first-time grower with a medical exemption to 
grow seven plants, was bound to lose at least another half or more to 
experimentation, improper lighting, humidity or temperature. He might have 
ended up with only seven good plants. I think we need to define a ``plant'' 
as something more than three feet tall, female and producing THC resin.

With optimal growing conditions it would take three to four months to grow 
a seven-plant supply, and that would hardly be enough for his personal use 
while waiting another three to four months for his next crop.

The police are only doing their job, but was it really necessary? Many 
police officers probably find this type of work distasteful - putting an 
AIDS patient in jail. Is he taking up the cell of a murderer, rapist or 
robber? At what cost? I don't believe he was growing enough to sell; he 
invited the police to come over and see his operation. So who are we 
protecting here - Wakeford and his fellow AIDS patients from themselves?

We know Wakeford is going to die, the only question is how. Let's hope he 
doesn't get shot to death in a drug deal in some seedy crackhouse, or add 
to the coffers of some gang with his medicine money. Then there'll be even 
more distasteful police work to do.

I say give the man a break and drop these charges. In fact, bring him down 
to the evidence room and make him take his medicine.

- - Peter McNeil

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