Hepatitis C Patient Can Now Legally Smoke Marijuana Following Two Day Protest

After two days and nights of public protest on Parliament Hill, Robert Brown, a 43-year-old infected with hepatitis C who has been trying to get consent from Health Canada for the past 12 months, received word this week that he could legally smoke marijuana to treat his illness.
A sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police located Brown huddled under an umbrella in a cold rain and handed him a cellular telephone. Dr. Robert Peterson, Associate Director-General of the Therapeutic Products Program of Health Canada, Canada’s health care bureaucracy, gave Brown the good news.
Health Canada said Brown’s two-day protest did not influence its decision but spokesman Jeff Pender conceded, “Obviously the fact that he was out in the cold and getting sicker probably lent it to gathering the last bit of information (faster).”
Brown, now becomes Canada’s 20th person approved to legally use marijuana medicinally. In August, Health Canada promised $7.5 million to the Medical Marijuana Research Project over the next five years to evaluate the medical use of marijuana.
Brown hopes the government’s decision will also help him this June when he goes on trial on charges stemming from a December 1998 arrest for marijuana possession, cultivation and intent to traffic. On Wednesday, the Crown announced that it is reviewing its case against Brown due to his constitutional exemption and his state of health.
For now, Brown is just happy to be allowed to use marijuana legally. He said on Monday, “I’m going to go home and hug my wife and then I’m going to smoke. I’m feeling pretty sick, but I’m feeling pretty good.”
For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500.