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Health Canada legal changes land Dartmouth medical pot user

by papapuff » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:11 pm

TheChronicleHerald.ca



Health Canada legal changes land Dartmouth medical pot user in court


DAN ARSENAULT CRIME REPORTER
Published March 10, 2015

Medical marijuana advocates are fuming over last week’s arrest of a Dartmouth man who used to have Health Canada’s permission to grow pot.

As a result, the Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana society intends to hold a news conference at the Farm Assists cannabis shop on Gottingen Street in Halifax on Wednesday.

The move follows last Wednesday’s arrest of 46-year-old Bob Dillman and his wife, who are charged with possession and cultivation of cannabis.

“You can’t treat patients like this,” Dillman said in an interview Tuesday.

“It’s the only medicine I can access, and they’ve impeded my health — they’ve threatened my life.”

Dillman is a former cook and current director of the Medical Cannabis Patients’ Alliance of Canada.

He injured his lower back at work in 2008, went on workers’ compensation and was prescribed pharmaceuticals, which soon became an issue for him.

“My immune system quit,” Dillman said, adding that he was getting rashes and experiencing loss of bowel control.

Muscle spasms from constant vomiting left him unable to stand straight, he said, and the additives in one low-dose Aspirin can damage his intestines and hospitalize him for over a month.

By the end of that year, Dillman had Health Canada permission to use marijuana and began growing it with the department’s permission. He said it saved his life.

His last licence to legally grow pot was set to end in Febuary 2014. He reapplied but was denied on the basis of coming changes to the laws.

According to information provided Tuesday by Health Canada, the changeover from Marijuana Medical Access Regulations to Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations was designed to stop a practice that allowed 26,000 Canadians to grow pot at home. The change is intended to force them to buy from licensed commercial producers.

Health Canada does not comment on individual cases.

However, it appears Dillman’s renewal application was denied because of that regulatory change, with the access regulations ending March 31. However, about 20,000 of those previously licensed growers are still producing marijuana because of an injunction imposed during a constitutional legal challenge.

Anyone without a valid permit as of March 31 — such as Dillman — isn’t protected by that injunction.

“I just want to be left alone, grow my plants and try to live out the rest of my life in peace,” Dillman said.

“Other than speeding tickets, I’ve never broken the law.”

The trouble started in February when Dillman got into a dispute with his landlord, who wanted to enter his residence at a time when Dillman wanted to leave for an appointment. Patrol officers arrived and settled that dispute but took note of the growing marijuana.

Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman Const. Dianne Woodworth said the officers informed the drug unit and a search warrant was subsequently executed. She said plants, dried marijuana and growing equipment were seized, but she would not give more information because of the ongoing court case.

Dillman said he lost 17 half-grown plants and 40 grams of marijuana. He and his wife are due in Dartmouth provincial court April 9.

While she does not use pot, Dillman said he smokes or ingests five to 10 grams of different strains of cannabis daily. He’s managed to continue this since his arrest but wouldn’t say how.

He said Health Canada is wrong to force him to buy poor-quality marijuana, which could contain chemicals he can’t handle, at a higher price.

Dillman said he gets $1,482 monthly from the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, but that amount won’t cover his monthly marijuana costs.

“The stress is too much for me,” he said.

Debbie Stultz-Giffin, chairwoman of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana, said Health Canada created a grey area during the regulatory changeover that shortchanged people who weren’t licensed when the injunction began.

“The wheels weren’t able to get in motion quickly enough to stop them from beginning the implementation of the program,” Stultz-Giffin said in an email.

“What an abhorrent waste of taxpayers’ dollars in this cash-strapped province, to be prosecuting economically deprived, critically ill patients who have been forced to choose between their health and liberty because of Health Canada’s unconstitutional medical cannabis program.”
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by papapuff » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:18 pm

Lethbridge Herald


Medical marijuana user says new Health Canada regulations are discriminating

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS ON MARCH 11, 2015.

HALIFAX – A medical marijuana user in Nova Scotia says he would rather go to jail than stop growing his own marijuana after changes to Health Canada regulations preventing cultivation of the plant at home.

Bob Dillman says he and his wife were arrested March 4 and charged with possession and production of marijuana at their home in Dartmouth.

Dillman was previously licensed to grow his own marijuana but says he was denied his latest renewal because Health Canada is phasing out the home-growing program and replacing it with authorized producers.

Debbie Stultz-Giffin with the group Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana says people like Dillman are being unfairly treated because marijuana approved by Health Canada is more expensive and unsuitable for users with chemical sensitivities.

A temporary injunction has been placed on the Health Canada changes, allowing people with existing permits to continue growing at home.

Dillman says although his permit was not renewed, he was assured police in Nova Scotia would not be enforcing the new rules because of the injunction.

He and his wife are due in court in April.

Halifax police won’t confirm charges have been laid against Dillman because information has not been sworn in court. But they say they did arrest a man at an address where Dillman says he lives.

Police say they got the warrant after attending the home on a separate matter, noticed the grow operation and returned to make the arrest.
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by papapuff » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:26 pm

Globalnews.ca

March 11, 2015


Medical marijuana users in Halifax speak out against new federal rules


By Mayya Assouad
Reporter Global News

HALIFAX – Bob Dillman was first authorized to grow marijuana for his own medical use in 2008. Now, almost seven years later, he and his wife are facing charges of possession and production of cannabis.

While Dillman continued to grow marijuana for his own use, as he had done legally for years, he is now in violation of rules the federal government introduced last year that prevent medical marijuana users from legally growing their own cannabis — Health Canada says patients must obtain medical cannabis through licensed producers.

“I’m on a fixed income, I’d have to pay more than what I get in just for my cannabis,” said Dillman.

According to Dillman, cannabis is the only thing that’s helped with his back injury and chemical and environmental sensitivities. He said he can’t afford to buy cannabis through licensed producers, and said even if he could, the product sold contains chemicals he can’t handle.

“I have no option, so I’ll either go to jail and die or I’ll die out here without,” he said.

Debbie Stultz-Giffin, the chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana (MUMM), said the prices “are simply exorbitant.”

On Wednesday, MUMM held a press conference to speak out against the new rules. They say due to the changes, patients previously enrolled in the Medical Marijuana Access Program are now falling through the cracks.

“There are a number of patients who definitely fall in that category who are now facing some sort of repercussion from law enforcement,” said Stultz-Giffin. “People shouldn’t be forced to choose between their liberty and their health, and that’s exactly what this mean-spirited federal program is doing to people.”

She said the number of charges against patients are on the rise across the country.

“It does feel like somewhat of a witch-hunt when you’re critically and chronically ill and the law enforcement come and start to put you through this undue stress,” she said.
A spokesperson with Halifax Regional Police said officers don’t have a choice in the matter.

“When we’re presented with evidence to support a charge we have to follow that. The law is what it is and it would be negligent to ignore it,” said Const. Dianne Woodworth.

In a statement sent to Global News, Health Canada said when the Marijuana Medical Access Program was first introduced in 2001, it had fewer than 100 patients authorized to possess marijuana for medical purposes, a number that has since grown to more than 40,000.

“The rapid expansion under the Marihuana Medical Access Program had significant unintended consequences on public health, safety and security,” the statement said. “The high value of marijuana on the illicit market increases the risks of home invasion and diversion. And these production operations present fire and toxic mould hazards.”

According to a spokesperson with Health Canada, the pricing of cannabis sold by licensed producers is market determined, and could drop over time “in response to competition and innovation.”

Dillman’s next court appearance is set for April 8.
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by papapuff » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:30 am

Truro Daily News


Fighting for the right to grow pot: Halifax man fuming mad over recent arrest

By Braedon Clark, For MetroPublished on March 12, 2015


HALIFAX - To hear Bob Dillman tell it, all he wants to do is grow cannabis at home.

The only problem is that the federal government doesn’t think he should be able to.

Dillman said he and his wife were arrested at their home on March 4. Dillman said he is charged for possessing and producing cannabis, charges that he vehemently objects to.

“It’s all about bureaucracy and money, not common sense,” Dillman said on Wednesday afternoon at a press conference at Farm Assists, a cannabis dispensary on Gottingen Street in Halifax.

Dillman was joined by Debbie Stultz-Giffin of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society (MUMM), who spoke out about the need for people like Dillman to be able to grow their own cannabis.

“Now he’s forced to choose between his health and his freedom,” Stultz-Giffin said, listing a variety of ailments that Dillman suffers from, including arthritis and back pain. According to Stultz-Giffin, only cannabis has proven to be an effective treatment for Dillman.

“I have to be able to grow my own,” Dillman said, arguing that cost and health concerns make him unable to purchase cannabis through dispensaries.

Dillman and others are watching a court decision in British Columbia very closely, where the question of home production of cannabis is being debated. A March 2014 injunction by the B.C. court temporarily allowed home production for those with a valid license.

Dillman’s license expired in February 2014, meaning he didn’t have a valid license when the injunction was granted and wasn’t eligible to continue growing cannabis at home, though that didn’t stop him.

In his mind, it’s an unjust situation with no solution.

“Shame on the government,” he said with obvious disgust. “I have no options here.”

Dillman is scheduled to appear in court in early April, where he will learn what sentence he could face if convicted.

Halifax police won’t confirm charges have been laid against Dillman because information has not been sworn in court. But they say they did arrest a man at an address where Dillman says he lives.

– The Canadian Press
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by papapuff » Thu May 14, 2015 11:01 am

TheChronicleHerald.ca



Man to seek compensation after cannabis charges dropped

FRANCES WILLICK STAFF REPORTER
Published May 14, 2015

A Dartmouth man who was facing drug charges for growing cannabis is relieved the charges have been dropped, but he plans to seek compensation for his losses.

Bobbylee Dillman and his wife were charged in March with possession and production of marijuana.

Those charges were dropped this week, after the Crown claimed that “evidence was an issue,” Dillman said.

“This is a welcome change, but it’s also stressful,” he said. “I’m definitely seeking legal action because this can’t go on to other patients.”

Dillman says he uses cannabis and its oil to treat fibromyalgia, arthritis, stomach problems and food sensitivities. He had a permit to grow cannabis, but after the federal government changed the rules governing licensed marijuana production, Dillman was refused a permit.

He says he cannot buy marijuana from a licensed grower because the chemicals and irradiation used during production trigger his chemical sensitivities. Since he was raided in March, he has been obtaining cannabis from a friend.

Dillman lost 19 plants in the raid, plus equipment and a supply of cannabis. The plants alone are valued at $19,000, according to the government’s protocol, he says.

Now that the charges are behind him, Dillman says he can focus on working toward broader change in the governance of medical cannabis.

“Now we can concentrate on the government and how they’re dealing with this. Because they can’t be arresting patients, because the stress they’re putting on them is killing them.”

Debbie Stultz-Giffin, the chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society, said it doesn’t make sense to raid and prosecute users of medical marijuana while legal challenges to the program are still being processed.

“We think it’s imperative that the provincial government stop prosecuting people who are considered to be patients,” Stultz-Giffin said.

“If someone has their authorization to use cannabis as medicine, until all of this is sorted out on a federal level as to the constitutionality of the new program, then this province should simply stop arresting patients and attempting to prosecute patients because it’s simply a waste of taxpayers dollars.”
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by papapuff » Fri May 15, 2015 3:47 pm

Globalnews.ca

May 15, 2015


Halifax medical marijuana user wants compensation for seized property

By Ray Bradshaw
Video Journalist Global News

VIDEO

HALIFAX – Medical marijuana users are calling on Halifax police to stop investigating people who need and use the product.

Bob Dillman injured his back and the medication he was prescribed destroyed his immune system. He says he gets some relief from using cannabis and a strict diet. He had a federal exemption to use cannabis, but it expired in February 2014.

Dillman and his wife were charged with possession of cannabis in early March 2015, but those charges have now been dropped.

“His exemption expired at a time when Health Canada was no longer completing renewals, despite the fact that his physicians still supported his medical cannabis use,” said Debbie Stultz-Giffin, the chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana (MUMM).

She said 20,000 other Canadians are in the same situation as Dillman, who said he had no choice but to continue to grow his own plants due to financial reasons.

“I only get about $1482 a month and if I follow these laws, I have to pay $1,500 a month for my medication,” he said.

The new law that came into effect on April 1, 2014 allows a few people to grow their own marijuana, but most have to buy it through Health Canada. Police raided Dillman’s Dartmouth residence on March 4, confiscating 18 plants and his equipment.

“This is a law that made me a criminal,” said Dillam. “I know because I’m a former corrections officer.”

The charges against Dillman were dropped this week. Dillman said the Crown claimed the evidence was an issue.

“I’m going to hold the cops accountable, whether it’s publicly or legally,” said Dillman. “I’m going to get a lawyer because I’m going to get my property back.”

Dillman said he’s now forced to get cannabis though the black market. Stultz-Giffin said she wants the provincial government to ask police to stop going after people who must use medicinal marijuana.

“It’s time to stop arresting patients and to stop forcing us to choose between our health and our liberty,” she said, “It’s a huge waste of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Police said if they receive a complaint they will continue to investigate.

“Searches would be conducted and if that person was found to be in possession of illegal drugs, we would have to take appropriate action,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Lauren Leal.
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by papapuff » Sat May 16, 2015 6:14 pm

CTV News



Medical pot users unhappy with changes to grower laws

CTV Atlantic
Published Saturday, May 16, 2015

VIDEO

Bob Dillman uses medical marijuana and says he must wear a mask to keep out environmental toxins. Earlier this year, both he and his wife were charged with possession and production of cannabis.

“Let’s use some common sense and leave people like me alone,” Dillman said.

He says the police confiscated at least 18 plants and an undisclosed amount of cannabis the day of the raid.

This week, all charges were dropped. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says: “The charges were withdrawn in this matter because the public interest was no longer best served by a prosecution.”

The reason for that decision was not released to the public.

Dillman is a former corrections officer and he says he’s angry about what police put him and his wife through. He says he is one of the 40,000 people in Canada who are authorized to possess medical marijuana.

“I have a legal right to have cannabis. I can’t use anything but cannabis for my pain,” Dillman said.

In 2013, about 26,000 people were approved to grow cannabis for their own use, or for someone else in their case. Health Canada then announced it was phasing out home-grown operations as of March 31, 2014.

Growers have launched a class-action lawsuit. A judge in British Columbia has issued an injunction, and for the time being anyone with a current license can continue to grow medical pot pending the outcome of that case.

Dillman says his renewal to grow marijuana was denied.

Debbie Stulz-Giffen, the chair of the Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society, says she can still grow her own supply for now.

“I think it’s horribly unfair that I'm still considered legal in the eyes of the law and there are 20,000 other Canadians who are left in the legally precarious situation," Stulz-Giffen said.

She says it’s about affordable and accessible care, and buying from a licensed dealer is more expensive.

The case is still making its way through the court in British Columbia, and could impact all home growers in Canada.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett
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