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MONTREAL, Canada (Reuters) --Canadian activists for the medicinal use of marijuana
celebrated a court victory on Thursday by launching an Internet site offering home
delivery of cannabis for seriously ill people.
Saying it would even offer tax deductions for orders, the Marijuana Party
Foundation took the unprecedented step after Quebec Superior Court Judge
Gilles Cadieux stopped the drug-trafficking trial of two volunteers from
Compassion Club of Montreal, a group that provides marijuana for medicinal
Relaxing the laws?
In his long-awaited decision, Judge Cadieux agreed that the pair, Marc-Boris
St-Maurice, 33, and Alexandre Neron, 22, had planned to sell marijuana when
they were arrested almost three years ago. But the judge noted that it was
unconstitutional to deny patients access to the drug.
Judge Cadieux said he did not have the authority to rule on the constitutionality
of Canada's marijuana laws. Prosecutors did not indicate whether they would
appeal his decision.
Earlier this month, a parliamentary committee urged the Canadian government
to relax its laws on possession of marijuana. The committee on the nonmedical
use of drugs said marijuana should be decriminalized, but not legalized, an idea
U.S. drug control officials quickly condemned.
Elated by Judge Cadieux's decision, St-Maurice hailed it as both a moral and
legal victory. The Marijuana Party Foundation, operated by the federally
chartered Marijuana Party, reacted to the ruling by immediately launching a
Web site offering to dispense therapeutic cannabis.
The Web site, www.marijuanahomedelivery.ca, offers two formats of "highest
quality therapeutic cannabis" with a THC content of 8 percent or more. A
two-gram package sells for $30 Canadian ($19) while Internet surfers can
order a 10 gram shipment for $120 Canadian.
"You are not contributing to organized crime. All revenues raised from our
service go to advance efforts to end cannabis prohibition," the organization
promises on its Web site.
Those wishing to order marijuana via the site must be Canadian citizens residing
in Canada, 18 years of age, and provide a doctor's diagnosis of an illness
known to be treatable or alleviated through the use of cannabis.
"It's an online Compassion Club to serve all Canadians who would have a need
for medical marijuana," St-Maurice said.
Medicinal pot legalized in Canada
Canadian law allows access to medical marijuana for a certain patients.
Canada's Office of Cannabis Medical Access oversees regulations brought
down in July 2001 that allow marijuana use by people suffering from grave and
Applicants include those who have a terminal illness or serious medical
conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord disease, cancer or AIDS/HIV
The Canadian government is working on the cultivation of a safe and
standardized supply of marijuana for use as a medical treatment.
But that supply is not yet available and those seeking medicinal marijuana must
turn elsewhere for access to the drug. Often, they must apply for a license to
grow the marijuana themselves or seek it on the street.
St-Maurice said the Marijuana Party Foundation does not have permits from
the Canadian government allowing the group to sell cannabis online. Its Internet
initiative also does not have the consent of the Canadian Medical Association
or other professional groups.
But St-Maurice said those hurdles will not prevent the Web site from taking
orders and shipping marijuana.
"In January, we'll be starting to offer tax deductions for the marijuana we sell
online," he said.
Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved.