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Pot Activist Dies Of Burns

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Blaze Sparked While Processing Marijuana

An out spoken advocate of marijuana for medicinal purposes died
Thursday after succumbing to burns he suffered when he tried to
extract oil from marijuana. Donny Appleby died at the Ottawa Hospital
General campus, surrounded by a group of friends.

"He ended his life peacefully and surrounded by friends," said Mike
Foster, a longtime friend and owner of Crosstown Traffic, a cannabis
paraphernalia store.

Appleby was an AIDS patient on a disability pension and couldn't
afford the marijuana he used for his illness.

While his friends are trying not to turn his death into a political
issue, many can't help but blame the federal government for restricted
access to marijuana for medicinal purposes.


"It's a travesty that people don't have access to this stuff -- a
clean, safe good source and supply of it," said Eugene Oscapella, a
lawyer with the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy and a friend to

About two weeks ago Appleby was trying to extract oil from low-grade
cannabis using butane, which exploded in his Vanier apartment, and
Appleby suffered severe burns.

He had been in hospital on a ventilator until his death on Thursday at
12:45 a.m. and had no chance for survival.

"He ended up doing things that may have ultimately cost him his life,"
Oscapella said.

Oscapella described Appleby as an "activist who tried to help people."
He was also by Appleby's side when he died.

"The guy didn't have a lot of strength physically but he had a lot of
strength in other ways and I think you've got to hand it to him,"
Oscapella said.

In a July protest on Parliament Hill, Appleby smoked a joint and
burned his Health Canada exemptions to demonstrate dismay over the
feds' handling of medical marijuana.


"Where are people supposed to be coming up with this money? Five
dollars a gram for second-grade medicine is not worth it," Appleby
told the Sun in July.

Meanwhile, Foster doesn't feel the feds are entirely to blame but
wished "they'd get their act together."

Appleby was also an activist in the AIDS community. Foster remembered
him as someone who would go the extra mile to help others.

"He was a good guy and helped people who fell through the cracks,"
Foster said.

Pubdate: Sat, 01 Nov 2003
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership
Contact: oped@ott.sunpub.com
Website: Under Construction fyiottawa.com