CONVICTED MAN TO SEEK OK TO SMOKE MARIJUANA
Court Judge Agrees To Delay Sentencing
ST. STEPHEN - A medical prescription for marijuana might keep an Elmsville man out of jail for growing the drug in his home.
Adam Troy Dickerson, 26, arrived at St. Stephen provincial court Tuesday expecting Judge David C. Walker to sentence him for production of marijuana, possession of marijuana and unsafe storage of a firearm.
The judge fined Dickerson $150 plus a surcharge of $22.50 for victims of crime for the firearms offence. He must pay this by April 7 or spend two days in jail.
However, the judge agreed to the request by duty counsel Joel Hansen to adjourn sentencing on the drug charges on the chance that Dickerson might have a valid medical reason to smoke marijuana.
The federal government passed regulations in 2001 allowing access to marijuana by people suffering from grave or debilitating illnesses, where conventional treatments are inappropriate or do not provide adequate relief.
To take advantage of this, a person must print the application forms available on Health Canada's website, then fill them out and send them in. Health Canada normally takes several weeks to respond to applications, so the judge adjourned sentencing to April 7 at 1:30 p.m.
The RCMP received a warrant in early October to search Dickerson's mobile home in Elmsville, according to statements in court in December.
The officers found smoking paraphernalia including pipes, bongs and bottles turned into smoking devices. The police found 104 grams of marijuana in the freezer and another 21 grams in a bag on the television stand in the living room.
In addition, the police discovered three marijuana plants growing in the hall, and 38 marijuana plants growing in black plastic pots under a high intensity light in an enclosed room at the back of the residence.
The officers also came across a shotgun unsecured and unloaded in the kitchen.
Dickerson arrived home to find the search underway. The RCMP arrested him.
He bought the marijuana in the freezer at a party in McAdam and he paid $200 for the shotgun, Dickerson told the RCMP. The police found no shells for the shotgun.
He uses marijuana regularly and grew the plants for his own use, he said.
He pleaded guilty to the charges in December. Walker ordered a pre-sentence report and adjourned sentencing until Tuesday, when Hansen told the court that Dickerson might qualify for medical use of this normally illegal drug. He did not elaborate.
The probation officer who wrote the pre-sentence report made some positive points, but also raised concerns, the judge noted.
Walker agreed to adjourn sentencing to April 7 to allow Dickerson to determine if he qualifies for medical use of marijuana. A friend with a computer will help him find the forms.
He will have to do this on his own without help from the court, probation office or police, the judge said.
"It's your application. Nobody's doing it for you."