PREGNANT WOMAN GETS YEAR IN PRISON FOR POT
A New Brunswick judge has sentenced a pregnant woman to jail -- forcing her to have her baby behind bars this summer -- after selling marijuana in what she claims was a cannabis compassion club for medical users.
Lynn Wood, 32, is six months pregnant. Her lawyer had pleaded with New Brunswick provincial court Judge Murray Cain to place his client under house arrest to let her deliver her baby at home.
But Cain insisted on a prison term Wednesday, saying Wood was likely to keep selling pot if not jailed. He said she would have access to medical care while having the baby in prison.
The sentence has outraged some marijuana activists, including Vancouver-based Marc Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, who says Wood is the first Canadian ever sent to jail for selling pot for medical reasons.
"A prison term is unbelievable," Emery said Wednesday. "She's a wonderful person. She already has three children at home. This is going to be devastating to her."
Cain, however, rejected arguments at Wood's trial earlier this year that she and her husband James had operated a marijuana compassion club -- selling only to proven medical users -- at the couple's Cannabis Cafe in downtown Saint John.
Wood claims she asked for doctor's letters from customers before dispensing marijuana.
But prosecutors said the cafe sold pot to people on the basis of only a personal statement that they needed marijuana to ease the pain and suffering of various medical ailments.
"She had a form that people needed to fill out to become a member [of the cafe] and there was no requirement that a doctor sign this form," said Crown prosecutor Nicole Poirier in an interview Wednesday. "The applicant would simply state that she or he had a medical condition."
Poirier also said Wood's customers included students from two nearby high schools.
The Cannabis Cafe, located across a busy intersection from Saint John's police department, has been a thorn in the side of city authorities for several years, especially since 2003 when the Woods claimed to be operating the first over-the-counter medical marijuana store in Canada.
Several government bodies, including the Senate, the Ontario Court of Appeal and the B.C. Provincial Court have recognized cannabis compassion clubs as supplying the legitimate needs of medical marijuana users.