A Victoria man who has permission from the federal government to smoke
marijuana for medicinal purposes says the Capital Region Housing Corporation
and Saanich Police Department are blowing smoke in his face.

Eric Young is in B.C. Supreme Court chambers asking the court to decide
whether he and his wife Marlene can be evicted because he legally smokes pot
to treat a serious illness.

The Youngs live in an apartment run by the housing corporation. Neighbours
have complained about Young's marijuana smoke damaging their quality of
life.

Young, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, told the court that "cannabis is
my only medicine."

He told Justice Malcolm Macaulay in his opening remarks that smoking pot is
less damaging to his body than traditional medication.

"If it were not for cannabis, I would be sitting at home barely able to
walk, barely able to feed myself, barely able to live," said Young.

While the federal government has given the nod to Young to smoke pot, he
said the government has done nothing to ensure he has a steady supply,
forcing him to choose between buying it on the street illegally or growing
it on his premises.

Young said the complaints from neighbours are not valid and full of
inconsistencies.

The couple has caused no physical damage to the suite and committed no crime
by the pot-smoking, he said.

"We are quiet folks who live a quiet life," Young said.

The Capital Regional Housing Corp. is trying to evict the Youngs because of
the neighbours' complaints. But Eric Young said the housing corporation just
doesn't like the pot-smoking.

"You'll see from the evidence that the landlord is totally not happy with us
being there," said Young.

Being allowed to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes carries its own
price tag, he said. Neighbours and CRD officials carry out surveillance of
the couple and take photos of their home, he said.

"They were trying to upset us so we would move," he said.

He is expected to give up his right to privacy when it comes to his health
and that's a violation of his rights under the charter, argued Young.

He smokes 1.5 grams a day, he said in court documents.


Pubdate: Thursday, February 20, 2003
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Contact: letters@times-colonist.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/victoria/timescolonist/
Author: Sandra McCulloch