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Compassion Pleaded Drugs Convictions


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Pete Young said he wasn't trying to hide anything -- he was offering marijuana from a downtown location to ease people's pain.

He said doctors knew. So did the police.

So when Richmond Street apartments set up for a medicinal marijuana centre were raided last March and nearly 1,000 plants were seized, Young, owner of the Organic traveller and a director of the London Compassion Society, reached out for support to help those in pain.

Yesterday, after he pleaded guilty to three drug-related charges, Young was still smarting from the drug raid and grieving for the people who lost their source of pain relief.

"We've had members die. We've been sent such heartfelt letters from members who have no other option," he said outside a London courtroom after he was given a two-year less-a-day conditional sentence.

"They are going to die. They are going to have to go through ridiculous amounts of pain and anguish and lack of quality of life because of the actions of closing the Compassion Centre for as long as it did."

Young pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking and cultivation of marijuana and possession of magic mushrooms -- a substance he uses occasionally.

Ontario Court Justice Ross Webster ordered $14,000 seized be forfeited.

Charges against employee Robert Newman were withdrawn.

Young's lawyer, Michael Barry, said the case was "extraordinary" because the drugs were for compassionate reasons, not profit.

He provided Webster a stack of support letters, including one from the Aids Committee of London.

Barry said there was nothing surreptitious about the organization that had offices at the Richmond Street location.

Young must spend the first six months of his sentence under house arrest.

He also cannot apply for a medicinal marijuana certificate.

His pleas will allow him to return to downtown London and to his store where he had been prohibited under his bail conditions.

Young, who says he doesn't smoke pot, said the gardens in the apartment building were new and planted to ensure "top-quality medicine."

Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Lodon Free Press
Contact: London Free Press: Letters to the Editor
Website: London Free Press
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