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Medical Mj Club Raided

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Feb 12, 00
Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2000, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Ingrid Peritz, Quebec Bureau
MEDICAL MARIJUANA CLUB RAIDED When it comes to smoking marijuana in Montreal, it seems that even a doctor's note is not good enough. Police proved on Thursday that they're not prepared to be compassionate toward the city's so-called Compassion Club, a storefront site offering medical marijuana. Officers arrested two employees and seized the names of 27 doctors who had recommended pot for their ailing patients. Apologetic-sounding police said yesterday they had no choice. The federal government can give permission to cultivate and use marijuana for medical purposes, but marijuana "compassion clubs" remain illegal. "We feel pain for the people who are suffering, but until legislators change the law we have to apply it," Commander Andre Lapointe said. "We're not gloating over this." Marc St. Maurice and Alexandre Neron appeared in court yesterday on charges of possessing 66 grams of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking -- enough to make 150 to 300 cigarettes, "depending on the size," Cdr. Lapointe said. The raid also raises the possibility of holding doctors criminally responsible for recommending pot to their patients. Police confiscated evidence from physicians who had suggested marijuana use to 33 patients and forwarded it to Crown prosecutors. The doctors could face charges of counselling someone to commit a criminal offence, Cdr. Lapointe said, adding that prosecutors will decide. He noted that some patients at the club suffered from serious ailments such as AIDS and breast cancer, while others complained of migraines and back pain. Only one of the members had received a federal exemption for taking marijuana for medicinal purposes. When the club opened, the director said patients would require a doctor's note or prescription, and were allotted only enough marijuana for personal use. Police say they have been building their case ever since the club opened, and put the club under surveillance -- not very difficult, since it is across the street from a police station.