KILLALOE, ON -- Impairment from marijuana is a rarity for Rick Reimer who
testified yesterday that smoking an average of 12 joints a day has boosted
his tolerance, leaving him perfectly capable of such mundane activities as
driving a car.

Wearing large winter boots, a striped gray suit and a pink, purple and
blue tie, the goateed former lawyer and marijuana activist appeared in
Killaloe court reeking of pot to defend himself against impaired driving

While Reimer admitted he used the drug for "recreational" purposes since
the age of 14, the multiple sclerosis sufferer received a medical
exemption to toke in 2000.

"I engage in lots of activities in the course of a day that I would (not)
engage in if I was impaired by marijuana," Reimer said, citing his ability
to defend fine points of law, saw wood, host a radio show, recite poetry,
and write plays.

Reimer, who had just driven himself to the tiny courtroom, said he was
just as impaired at that moment as he was when he was pulled over by
police along Hwy. 58 in February of last year.

Ability To Impair

While toxicology expert Dr. Robert Langille said marijuana does have the
ability to impair driving, Reimer maintained that impairment is subjective
and depends on individual tolerance and how familiar the smoker is with a
particular batch of marijuana.

While Reimer admitted he might have swerved over the line while "changing
a CD" or "lighting a joint," he said it was not directly related to

The unsteadiness police witnessed when he exited his vehicle, he said was
more likely the result of his medical condition.

Nothing Special

While Crown Attorney Mac Lindsay suggested Reimer was too impaired to
notice the arresting officer had tried to give him a break by asking his
girlfriend to drive instead, Reimer said he wasn't looking for any special

"It's not his place to tell me, 'you're allowed to do this and she's
allowed to do that,' " he said. "I think the duty of police is if they
think a crime is being committed to lay charges ... I think they didn't
know what to do."

Testimony continues in Pembroke court today.

Pubdate: Wednesday, January 8, 2003
Author: Tobi Cohen
Source: Ottawa Sun