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Activist Fought For Marijuana Use

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Messier's Struggle With Muscular Dystrophy Led Health Canada To Grant Him
Pot Rights

Marijuana activist Claude Messier died yesterday in St. Charles Borromee
Hospital, where he had been living for years as a patient with muscular

He was 37.

Despite his physical difficulties, Messier was an outspoken advocate of
rights for the disabled.

He especially championed the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

"The movement has lost an important activist - he was always fighting. His
indomitable spirit was an inspiration to us all," Alexandre Neron, a Club
Compassion volunteer and long-time friend, said yesterday.

Two years ago, Health Canada gave Messier permission to smoke marijuana
legally to relieve the pain from his condition.

In the last federal election, he was the Marijuana Party candidate in the
Rosemont-Petite-Patrie riding. He got 1,470 votes.

Messier wrote three books, including his autobiography, Confessions d'un
paquet d'os (Confessions of a Bag of Bones.)

Told he wouldn't live past age 6, then 12, then 24, Messier never felt
sorry for himself. Two years ago, he took up sky diving.

"Treat the handicapped as equals, as whole people just like you, without
condescension," Messier told The Gazette two years ago.

He urged patients suffering from long-term disabilities to "go beyond your
dreams, and push your limits."

"We have to wake up and take our place in society," he said.

Funeral arrangements have not been completed.

Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 2004
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Webpage: http://www.mapinc.org/cancom/F82E9E01-B71B-4B8E-A82A-CB599E0BD202
Copyright: 2004 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc.
Contact: letters@thegazette.canwest.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette