Police seize medical marijuana from AIDS sufferer

February 02, 2006

, CBC News

A Regina man whose medical marijuana was seized by the Regina police is worried he's going to be charged with drug offences.


Tom Shapiro has AIDS and takes marijuana to relieve nausea.


"I'm going to pay for this with my health," he said.


He also grows the drug in his basement, having been first approved for a medical marijuana grow operation five years ago.


Shapiro said he was waiting for Health Canada to approve his annual application when police showed up at his door late Tuesday afternoon with a search warrant.


He said he, his wife and 20-year-old stepson sat on the living room sofa in handcuffs for several hours while police checked with Health Canada.


"They phoned back and said, 'He is illegally running his grow operation because his licence is expired,'" he said.


Shapiro said police took his marijuana plants and most of his grow equipment.


Police told him they would be back in a few days to charge him if he didn't clear things up with the federal government. He was later told to show up at the police station, where he expects he'll be charged.


Shapiro said he's expecting approval to come through soon and is frustrated by what he considers a bureaucratic delay.


As of Dec. 2, 2005, there were 1,186 Canadians who use marijuana for medical purposes, Health Canada says. Of those, 859 are allowed to cultivate the plant. The rest buy their product from Health Canada.

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