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Canadian Woman to Mount Medical Marijuana Court Challenge


November-December 1997

Lynn Harichy, a mother of four who has suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS) for eighteen years, was arrested on September 15 in front of the Dundas Street police station in London, Ontario for attempting to light a marijuana cigarette. Harichy intentionally broke the law to mount a court challenge against Canada's prohibition of medical marijuana. She says marijuana numbs the crippling pain in her joints caused by MS, and is more effective than prescription drugs and has fewer side effects. (Norman De Bono, "Canada: Protestor for legal pot arrested," London Free Press, September 15, 1997, p. A1; Mike Blanchfield, "MS victim gets arrested to challenge marijuana ban," Ottawa Citizen, September 15, 1997).

Harichy believes the time is right to challenge the law. Harichy testified at the recent marijuana trial of Chris Clay where she raised the issue of medicinal use of marijuana. According to Chris Clay, "The Judge told me that if I had a medical condition he may have ruled in my favor. I think a judge would be sympathetic. She has a strong case." Justice John McCart, who presided over the Clay trial, said, "Parliament may wish to take a serious look at easing the restrictions that apply to the use of marijuana (See, "Challenger of Canadian Marijuana Law Sentenced to Three Years Probation, Fined $750," NewsBriefs, September-October 1997)."

Alan Young, the Osgoode Hall law professor who represented Clay, said he will defend Harichy for free if necessary. Harichy appeared in court on October 14, and was remanded out of custody until November 5 (Don Murray, "Court Remands Pot Crusader," London Free Press, October 15, 1997, p. A6).

Attorney Alan Young - Osgoode Hall Law School, 4700 Keele Street, North York, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3, Tel: (416) 736-5595.