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Crown Snuffs Pot Charge

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The Crown has withdrawn pot charges against two former directors of
the Toronto Compassion Centre, which supplies medicinal marijuana to
1,200 ill clients. The prosecutor withdrew the charges against Warren
Hitzig and Zachary Naftolin yesterday -- 17 months after they were
laid and the day their trial was to start. The two were elated.

But defence lawyer Paul Burstein said the charges should've been
dropped long ago and the fact they weren't shows "callous disregard to
the people who were doing the government's job for them in supplying
sick people with marijuana."

The charges included possession of marijuana, possession for the
purpose of trafficking, and possession of the proceeds of crime
arising out of an August 2002 raid of a Bathurst St. location.

Lawyer Joseph Neuberger said this is a "small victory" in the war for
medicinal pot

Hitzig also said this "opens up the gates if people want to fight for
their right to possess to distribute medicinal marijuana."

He said it was "vindictive of the government just to go after us with
no purpose except to get us off the street because they were pissed
off that we were doing the right thing."

Hitzig was one of the applicants who successfully challenged Canada's
medical marijuana regulations in court. The lawyers noted Hitzig was
charged not long after he launched the civil action in 2002.

Despite a ruling last fall that called on Ottawa to license compassion
clubs, Health Canada has restricted people from providing more than
one authorized user with pot.

Pubdate: Thu, 29 Jan 2004
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Contact: editor@tor.sunpub.com
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