AIDS Patient Weeps as Mounties Raid! 

AIDS Patient Weeps as Mounties Raid! 
Posted by FoM on March 18, 1999 at 15:35:03 PT

A marijuana-growing operation that provided a steady discount supply to AIDS and cancer patients was raided by police yesterday, forcing the region's terminally ill users to buy their medicine on the street. The raid came shortly before 10 a.m., when about 10 RCMP drug agents stormed a rented basement apartment on St-Denis Street in Vanier, a hydroponic site maintained by Aubert Martin, operating as a business under the name Canna Pharm Canada. 
 Wayne Hiebert, The Ottawa Citizen / Jean-Charles Pariseau and his wife, Sylvie, look on as Cpl. Marc Richer addresses members of the media yesterday outside the couple's Vanier home. Mr. Pariseau smokes marijuana on the advice of his doctor.RCMP drug agents seized 178 plants and growing equipment and arrested Mr. Martin, a key supplier in the region's underground medicinal marijuana network. Mr. Martin's arrest marks the end of a supply to a small circle of AIDS and cancer sufferers who smoke marijuana to ease their pain. Jean-Charles Pariseau, 32, an AIDS patient who smokes marijuana on the advice of his doctor, cried softly as RCMP officers smashed the equipment, located directly below his apartment. The bust means people like Mr. Pariseau must now buy marijuana on the street from "common criminals." "If I have to buy on the street I won't know what I'm getting and that scares me," Mr. Pariseau said. "I don't think people understand how it helps me. It helps me eat and it helps me to forget that I'm sick and dying." Mr. Pariseau began smoking marijuana after a prescribed diet of appetite stimulants and nausea drugs failed to keep down the 30-odd pills he takes to help him digest food. But the marijuana, according to him and his physician Dr. Don Kilby, finally revived his appetite. He gained about 10 kilograms and his life expectancy was extended three years. "I don't know what I'm going to do now," he said yesterday. Mr. Pariseau appeared tired and frail and he grew so weak by noon that he took a seat in his wheelchair. His fight for a government permit to smoke pot for medicinal purposes gained national attention in 1997 when he was arrested on possession charges. It is widely known in Ottawa's drug community that Mr. Martin, who has 20 years of marijuana growing experience, refuses to sell to anyone other than AIDS and cancer sufferers. Mr. Martin is also known to sometimes supply marijuana for free. "He's just a good guy who wants to help out sick people," Mr. Pariseau said. "It's not a debate for us. The legislation is still there for us to enforce," said Cpl. Marc Richer. In the afternoon, RCMP also raided a branch site of Canna Pharm in Hull, where they seized more equipment such as lamps and humidity-control devices and 160 plants. In all, RCMP estimate the seized marijuana has a street value of up to $4.2-million. This is calculated by estimating that the 338 plants could have yielded between 340,000 and 850,000 joints that could have sold for up to $5 each. Mr. Martin and two unidentified men were arrested on charges of production of cannabis. All three were released on a promise to appear in court to face production and possibly trafficking charges, police said. The raids come just two weeks after the federal government announced plans to conduct human clinical tests to see if smoking marijuana can reduce pain in terminally ill patients. When Health Minister Allan Rock announced the plan, he said the tests should not be seen as a step toward legalizing marijuana. Though he acknowledged anecdotal evidence that the plant can ease pain in terminally ill patients he said there are no scientific facts supporting such claims.
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