Ailing pot activist released

October 13, 2005

Associated Press, The Olympian

An American medical-marijuana advocate who says he was arrested at a Canadian hospital while waiting to be admitted for prostate surgery, turned over to U.S. authorities and held for several days without having his catheter removed was released from a Seattle jail to seek medical care Thursday.

"The whole time I was in jail, they put a blood-pressure cuff on me. That was all," Steven William Tuck, said after his release.

Canadian Border Services agents took Tuck, who fled from California to British Columbia in 2001 after being charged with growing and distributing marijuana, from an admitting-room gurney at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver on Oct. 7, he and a witness told The Associated Press. Tuck's bid for asylum in Canada had failed, but he said he was trying to appeal the decision.

On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue ordered him released so he could go to the hospital, on the condition that when his treatment was over, he return to California to face the federal charge.

Tuck said he has used morphine -- with a doctor's prescription -- and marijuana for nearly two decades to deal with pain stemming from a 1987 parachute accident in the Army, as well as a 1990 car accident. Those injuries have required more than a dozen surgeries over the years.

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