Pubdate: Wed, 28 Jun 2000
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2000 The Province
Address: 200 Granville Street, Ste. #1, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N3 Canada
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Page A12
Author: Andy Ivens


Judge Calls Bill Small's Supplies To Ailing People "Humane And Altruistic"

A B.C. Supreme Court judge recognized medicinal-marijuana use yesterday in his
decision to grant an absolute discharge to an unselfish grower who pleaded guilty to
cultivating pot.

Bill Small was a director of the B.C. Compassion Club when police raided his Roberts
Creek home in September 1998 and found more than 200 marijuana plants.

He was growing various strains of marijuana solely for club members.

The plants the police found were dead and earmarked for the compost heap because they
were of no use to the club - a registered non-profit society that supplies about 1,1000
cancer, AIDS and multiple-sclerosis patients with the strains of marijuana that ease their

Some 85 grams of the drug found in a baggie was destined for club use.

"I am satisfied that your motives for the commission of this offence were humane and
altruistic, to fulfill what you believed was a pressing need to assist others who needed
marijuana for medicinal purposes," said Justice Randall Wong.

His decision means Small - who retired from a successful but stressful career as a real
estate magnate six years ago because of life-threatening ulcers - has no criminal record.

Lawyer John Conroy argued, Small, 40, should receive a discharge, in light of a recent
ruling by the B.C. Court of Appeal.

A former director of the Canadian Red Cross, Small is now a bluegrass musician who
makes his living largely in the U.S. Justice Wong noted a criminal record would