Nova Scotia medical marijuana case now in hands of jury

September 17, 2007

Tom McCoag, Halifax Chronicle Herald (Canada)

AMHERST — The fate of a Maccan-area man who says he has the cure for cancer is now in the hands of a Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury.

The nine-man, three-woman jury began deliberating the guilt or innocence of Ricky Logan Simpson, 57, at midday Tuesday after a lengthy charge by Justice Felix Cacchione.

The jury is to decide if Mr. Simpson is guilty or not guilty on charges of possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana, possessing less than three kilograms of THC for the purpose of trafficking and unlawfully producing marijuana.

Justice Cacchione’s address to the jury came after five days of testimony in which jurors heard evidence from six Crown witnesses, including five police officers and a retired official from Health Canada’s medical marijuana program.

The jury also heard testimony from Mr. Simpson, but did not hear testimony from several of Mr. Simpson’s patients because it was ruled that testimony about the medicinal value of a marijuana oil, that Mr. Simpson freely admitted making, was hearsay and not relevant to the case.

Testimony from the Crown witnesses detailed the raid on Mr. Simpson’s Little Forks Road property on Aug. 3, 2005. The raid unearthed equipment and paraphernalia commonly associated with marijuana grow-operations, like a still and scales. It also netted 1,190 plants that a police marijuana expert said would create 83,300 grams of smokeable marijuana.

The police expert testified it would take a heavy pot smoker more than 76 years to smoke all the marijuana found on Mr. Simpson’s property.

The Health Canada official noted that Canada was the first country in the world to establish a medical marijuana program and outlined how a person gained access to it.

In his testimony, Mr. Simpson admitted to possessing marijuana, growing it on his property and giving hemp oil to people who were suffering from a variety of ailments free of charge.

He further testified he could not access the Canadian medical marijuana program because his doctor would not consider it as an option to treat his post-concussion syndrome. As a result, he was forced to grow the marijuana and create the oil on his own outside the program.

He called on the jury to find him not guilty for following his conscience and for helping people cure diseases like cancer, psoriasis and diabetic ulcers, with man’s oldest and safest known medication — marijuana.

Justice Cacchione told the jury that the defence of necessity was not open to Mr. Simpson because he did not face imminent danger from his medical condition. He also told the jury the testimony from Mr. Simpson’s patients was not admissible.

He urged them to use their common sense when determining if Mr. Simpson is not guilty or guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Any doubt, he added, had to go to the benefit of Mr. Simpson.

(tmccoag@herald.ca)



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