- Published in Chilliwack Progress on 13 September 2002

A Chilliwack man got a licence to grow and possess marijuana for medical purposes this week, more than a year after he first applied for an exemption - now called a licence - more than a year ago.

An American pot activist, Steve Kubby, currently seeking refugee status in Canada, was granted a similar medical marijuana licence last week.

The Chilliwack man says he expects that granting the exemption to an American citizen is going to give Canadian applicants "leverage" at Health Canada. "I think it will encourage a lot of Canadians who have given up," he says.

He attributes his long wait for an exemption to "a lot of bad doctors who were ignoring my very serious symptoms."

A spokesperson for the B.C. Medical Association says there are no hard and fast rules for doctors who are asked to approve patients' applications for exemptions in this province.

The Chilliwack man, who opened a marijuana "compassion" club in Chilliwack last month, says he intends to start using his licence in public at the new courthouse café. The Holy Smoke Healing Center Society, located just a block away from the new Chilliwack courthouse, now has about 40 members, 26 of whom already possess extended medical marijuana exemptions.

"I want the public to start becoming familiar with licenced people, become aware that we are a reality and we're not going away." he says. "I am going to have my meds and a caramel macchiato at high noon and at 4:20 pm" a time he says is an "international symbol" for after-work users of marijuana.

The licence issued allows him to grow his own marijuana, which he says, means he no longer has to break the law and risk arrest for buying pot from illegal sources.

"I can finally say good-bye to the black market, once and for all, " he says. "My family has lived in fear and danger every day for almost nine years. Now I can finally put that to rest."

A marijuana trafficking charge against him was stayed earlier this year by a provincial court judge, and a cultivation charge stemming from the same incident was stayed yesterday.

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