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http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm.../nm/20021219/wr_nm/health_canada_marijuana_dc

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canadian activists for the medicinal use of
marijuana celebrated a court victory on Thursday by launching an
Internet site offering home delivery of cannabis for seriously ill people.

Saying it would even offer tax deductions for orders, the
Marijuana Party Foundation took the unprecedented step after
Quebec Superior Court Judge Gilles Cadieux stopped the drug-
trafficking trial of two volunteers from Compassion Club of
Montreal, a group that provides marijuana for medicinal
purposes.

In his long-awaited decision, Judge Cadieux agreed that the pair,
Marc-Boris St-Maurice, 33, and Alexandre Neron, 22, had planned
to sell marijuana when they were arrested almost three years
ago. But the judge noted that it was unconstitutional to deny
patients access to the drug.

Judge Cadieux said he did not have the authority to rule on the
constitutionality of Canada's marijuana laws. Prosecutors did not
indicate whether they would appeal his decision.

Earlier this month, a parliamentary committee urged the
Canadian government to relax its laws on possession of
marijuana. The committee on the nonmedical use of drugs said
marijuana should be decriminalized, but not legalized, an idea
U.S. drug control officials quickly condemned.

HOME DELIVERY OF MARIJUANA
Elated by Judge Cadieux's decision, St-Maurice hailed it as both a
moral and legal victory. The Marijuana Party Foundation,
operated by the federally chartered Marijuana Party, reacted to
the ruling by immediately launching a Web Site offering to
dispense therapeutic cannabis.

The Web Site, www.marijuanahomedelivery.ca, offers
two formats of "highest quality therapeutic cannabis" with a THC
content of 8 percent or more. A two-gram package sells for C$30
($19) while Internet surfers can order a 10 gram shipment for
C$120.

"You are not contributing to organized crime. All revenues raised
from our service go to advance efforts to end cannabis
prohibition," the organization promises on its Web Site.

Those wishing to order marijuana via the Web Site must be
Canadian citizens residing in Canada, 18 years of age, and
provide a doctor's diagnosis of an illness known to be treatable
or alleviated through the use of cannabis.

It's an online Compassion Club to serve all Canadians who would
have a need for medical marijuana," St-Maurice told Reuters.

MEDICINAL CANNABIS LEGAL IN CANADA
Canadian law allows access to medical marijuana for a certain
patients. Canada's Office of Cannabis Medical Access oversees
regulations brought down in July 2001 that allow marijuana use
by people suffering from grave and debilitating illnesses.

Applicants include those who have a terminal illness or serious
medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord disease,
cancer or AIDS (news - web sites)/HIV (news - web sites)
infection.

The Canadian government is working on the cultivation of a safe
and standardized supply of marijuana for use as a medical
treatment.

But that supply is not yet available and those seeking medicinal
marijuana must turn elsewhere for access to the drug. Often,
they must apply for a license to grow the marijuana themselves
or seek it on the street.

St-Maurice said the Marijuana Party Foundation does not have
permits from the Canadian government allowing the group to sell
cannabis online. Its Internet initiative also does not have the
consent of the Canadian Medical Association or other professional
groups.

But St-Maurice said those hurdles will not prevent the Web Site
from taking orders and shipping marijuana.

"In January, we'll be starting to offer tax deductions for the
marijuana we sell online," he said.

($1=$1.55 Canadian)


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