Newsbrief: Ontario Court Clears Tokin' Motorist of DWI Charge 1/10/03

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

In what could become a precedent-setting case, a Canadian provincial court has acquitted an eastern Ontario man of driving while impaired by marijuana. Cannabis activist and Health Canada-certified medical marijuana user Rick Reimer was caught driving joint-in-hand, but that wasn't enough to convince Justice Bruce McPhee that he was too high to drive safely.

Reimer, a retired lawyer who has multiple sclerosis, defended himself. He told the court he drove while smoking marijuana, but insisted it did not impair his driving ability. Among witnesses he called were several Ontario residents who testified that they, too, drove while or after smoking, again without impairment. Some witnesses even told the court that smoking made them better drivers.

In acquitting Reimer Wednesday, Justice McPhee said his decision did not mean that he could dismiss the notion that some people could be impaired by marijuana smoking, but given the lack of scientific evidence, he could not be sure "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Reimer had been impaired. McPhee said that he could not convict in the absence of scientific evidence -- none of which was offered by either side -- but also because he had never seen Reimer straight, which he never was during the trial.

"I know I'm not guilty, I'm innocent, and I hoped the court would see it this way and I'm glad it did," Reimer told reporters in Pembroke, Ontario, after his acquittal. "The most important thing, in my opinion, that the judge said is that this is an area that needs a lot more scientific study. It also, in my opinion, is an area that needs a lot more democratic debate."

The ruling stands in stark contrast with a current campaign led by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy to have states nationwide enact "drugged driving" laws that would allow drivers to be convicted of DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) based not on any evidence of actual impairment but on the presence of even miniscule amounts of cannabis metabolites (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/264.html#druggeddriving).

Crown prosecutors pronounced themselves satisfied with the verdict and have not decided whether to appeal, they said after the acquittal.

I'm very happy," Reimer said outside court, firing up a half-smoked joint. I'm feeling the euphoria that I used to get out of marijuana."

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #271, 1/10/03 The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | The Road to Mérida: Interview with Mario Menéndez, Publisher of !Por Esto!, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | The Road to Mérida: Dr. Jaime Malamud-Goti, former Argentine Solicitor General | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Canada Cannabis Conundrum Continued: Government Will Appeal Ontario Ruling, Prosecutors to Put Possession Cases on Hold | Newsbrief: Eyeing Stiffer Meth Penalties in West Virginia | Newsbrief: First Local Salvia Divinorum Ordinance Proposed | Newsbrief: Huffington SUV-Terrorism Ad Parodies Drug Czar's Drug-Terrorism Campaign | Newsbrief: Corrupt Cops of the Week | Newsbrief: Ontario Court Clears Tokin' Motorist of DWI Charge | Newsbrief: Massachusetts Cops Slow to Act on Racial Profiling Law | Newsbrief: New Jersey Seeks to Delay Ban on Asset Forfeiture, Will Appeal Ruling | Newsbrief: Federal Court Ruling on No-Knock Search Raises Questions About Standard Procedure in Kansas City | Web Scan: Maia Szalavitz in Slate, GAO on Colombia Coca, Globe and Mail on Ontario Marijuana Ruling | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]