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Marijuana Trafficking Charges Stayed


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Trafficking charges against two Nova Scotia men were stayed Tuesday in provincial court, leaving the ownership of 500 grams of marijuana in legal limbo.

John Thomas Cook, 40, of 750 Old Sambro Rd., came to Truro prepared to argue that charges of possession of marijuana and possession for the purposes of trafficking would not hold up in court because of legal precedents in other provinces.

Cook runs the Halifax chapter of the Cannabis Buyers Clubs of Canada and supplies medicinal marijuana to about 50 clients. After several months of researching court cases to defend himself under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he found out last Friday that the Crown was not proceeding. "I was ripping for about two hours," he said. "I was quite upset because we were working on this for two months."

Cook, and Stephen Edward Chute, 40, of Springhill, don't contest they shipped the drugs from Springhill to Halifax County. The were arrested after a package was seized at an Acadian Lines bus terminal on Jan. 27. The marijuana is still being held by the Colchester RCMP but Cook plans to apply to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to get it back.

Federal Crown attorney Cameron MacKinnon would not comment why the charges were stayed. But Cook thinks that putting the charges on ice is the best option for the Crown in a case they couldn't win. "My speculation is it would be too messy ... a hornet's nest," he said.

Legal precedents in other provinces have knocked down marijuana possession and cultivation charges in cases of medicinal use, he said, and the laws no longer apply elsewhere in Canada because the Charter guarantees equal rights across the country. Cook has been smoking marijuana for 20 years following a couple of workplace injuries. Chute, who did not appear in court yesterday, was also injured in the workplace and suffers from environmental illness. He has used marijuana to relieve his symptoms for more than 12 years.

Charges against Cook for failing to appear for fingerprinting were also stayed.

Newshawk: SirBlazinBowl - 420Times.com
Source: Truro Daily News (CN NS)
Copyright: 2005 The Daily News
Contact: mturner@trurodaily.com
Website: http://www.trurodaily.com/
Author: John Christianson
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