Canada: Man who was Helping Sick Friend Avoids Record in Marijuana Case

February 27, 2010 – An Ottawa technology consultant who told a judge he possessed more than a kilogram of marijuana because he was using it to help a sick friend avoided a criminal record when the judge gave him an absolute discharge Wednesday.

Ontario Court Justice Jack Nadelle said a discharge for Lyle “Rick” Tweedy was appropriate and not against the public interest given the extraordinary circumstances in the case, which involved Tweedy possessing a little more than 1.2 kilograms of the drug. He was, he testified, planning to make hemp oil out of marijuana to help his friend Margot MacLeod ease the pain caused by her cervical cancer. She died Jan. 12.

Tweedy, 44, was arrested in May 2009 after police officers, searching for a marijuana grow-op at the Tranquility Lane house where he was staying, found the drug in his bedroom. The search warrant was targeting his roommates, who are still facing charges before the court.

Tweedy pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking in late January. Federal Crown prosecutors had been seeking a four-to-six-month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

Court heard Tweedy had been caring for MacLeod over the final five months of her life, staying with her regularly to attend to both her physical and emotional needs and spending the final nights of her life at her hospital bedside.

In a letter to the court written last October, MacLeod, who was 42, wrote that Tweedy was “the only person willing to do whatever he could to help me.”

Hopeful that her cancer could be cured by hemp oil after researching alternative cancer therapy, MacLeod said she hoped the drug might at least help control her pain. Tweedy was unable to provide her with the hemp oil and her health declined rapidly, she said.

A kilogram of marijuana can make approximately 60 grams of hemp oil.

“If it were not for his compassion and generosity I am sure I would have been forced to leave my home to live at a full-time nursing facility,” wrote MacLeod, whose obituary described Tweedy as one of her “special angels.”

MacLeod’s brother, Kenneth, wrote in a separate letter that Tweedy “selflessly put aside his own life” to look after MacLeod.

In his decision, Nadelle found that Tweedy’s care of MacLeod was a form of community service and that sentencing him to probation would serve no purpose. Nadelle also noted Tweedy’s good character and lack of criminal record and that the crime wasn’t motivated for profit.

The absolute discharge will be removed from Tweedy’s record after a year.

Tweedy said he believed he was doing the right thing by helping his friend even though it put him in harm’s way.

He had no reason to doubt, he said, that MacLeod’s life could be improved through the use of hemp oil after researching the work of a Nova Scotia man who promotes it as a cure.

“It is important for the courts to keep an open mind with respect to marijuana offences because it should not be the Queen, Crown, or policy maker who determines what is best for an individual’s own health and well-being,” said Tweedy. “People need to live what they believe is right.”  Source.

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