Mon, 29 Dec 2003
CRUSADER FOR POT DIES AFTER MS FIGHT
Londoner Lynn Harichy, whose efforts helped to legalize medicinal
marijuana use in Canada, died Christmas Day after a lengthy battle
with multiple sclerosis. She was 42. As part of a national network of
lobbyists, Harichy was a longtime crusader for the legalization of pot
for medicinal uses. She once lit up a joint on the steps of London
police station, an act that led to her arrest.
Two years ago, following the efforts of pot crusaders like Harichy
across Canada, the federal government eased the law on pot use for
those suffering from serious illnesses.
The Office of Cannabis Medical Access was established to regulate use
of medicinal marijuana in cases where it would have some medical benefit
Harichy's efforts to that end leave a proud legacy, says her brother,
Wayne Fortnum. "A lot of people when they go, they didn't leave
anything behind. She has something. I'm proud that she did what she
thought she needed to do."
Harichy ran the Cannabis Compassion Club, which supplied pot to sick
people. She served more than 600 people who suffered from such
diseases as MS, AIDS, cancer, epilepsy and chronic pain.
As the rules began loosening around marijuana use for the seriously
ill, Harichy once told The Free Press why she started the club.
"The people who bought from us just couldn't go out on the street,"
she said. "It would have been too dangerous for them."
Despite the criminal charges it caused her, and the social
embarrassment she once admitted to feeling, Harichy continued pushing
the cause until her MS began to take its harsh toll over the past
year, her brother noted.
"She was dedicated to her cause," Fortnum said. "When she got her mind
( set ) to do something, she did it."
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake
MAP Archives Read about Lynn
Lynn's Published Letters
backissues -> CC29 -> Police bust Lynn Harichy
by Reverend Damuzi (10 Sept, 2000)
Ontario cops rip up pot activist's crop, despite her exemption for MS.
|Lynn Harichy at her Sept 1997 arrest
The police arrived on MS-Sufferer Lynn Harichy's front step in London, Ontario on August 29, looking to uproot the medical cannabis patch in her back yard. "I grow a year's supply during the Summer," Harichy said. Lynn Harichy has a legal medical exemption that that her MP, Sue Barnes, tells her is "in the mail" from the Department of Health. Harichy is shocked that police raided her home.
"I've been on radio shows and television saying I use cannabis. They knocked on the door, carrying one of those big metal battering rams [they didn't use it] and when I answered they asked, 'Do you have any pot here?' Well of course I did. Are they stupid?"
Then the police ripped up all of her plants and stole her bagged medicine. Police spokesperson Constable Ryan Holland told the local London media that they had torn 58 grown plants from the ground and found 2,300 grams of cannabis, worth a whopping $71,000. According to Harichy, however, there were only 30 plants, and the "2,300 grams" were just a big bag of shake to cook into pot food, which is a common way to prepare cannabis medicine.
"See how rich I was and I didn't even know it?," chided Harichy. "You don't make any money providing yourself with medicine. The only people that are making money here are the narcotics officers."
London police are waging a war against Harichy. They raided and destroyed her and her husband Mike's Cannabis Compassion Centre in '97 after paying at least one informant to testify against the couple. Mike took the rap and pled guilty to spare Harichy from going to jail, which could easily have been a death sentence for her. Police regularly fly over their home with helicopters and planes, and now they have deprived Lynn Harichy of her medicine.
"I'm down to 83 pounds, and I need cannabis," explained Harichy. "I'm on disability, I'm losing my house and everything else, and I can't afford to buy my medicine on the street."
Police didn't even check with the Minister of Health to see if she had an exemption. The day after the raid, the London Free Press quoted Constable Holland, as saying that "None was turned over to police or was found last night," raising the question of whether medical exemptions are like drivers' licenses that must be produced for officers on demand. Yet no such rules exist for holders of medical exemptions.
"I think that busting me was the most ridiculous thing that they have ever done," Harichy complained. "They want to make a point of me. I think they have plans to put me in jail, just to prove that it doesn't matter who you are, that they can make you suffer."
Lynn and Mike Harichy will faces charges of cultivation on September 27 at 9:30, and would like to pack the courthouse with supporters. All are welcome to attend.
Cannabis Culture Archives Read about Lynn
* London Cannabis Compassion Center website: www.drugsense.org/lccc
* Story in the London Free Press about Lynn: www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00/n1273/a11.html
* More articles about Lynn: www.mapinc.org/harichy.htm
* Letters by Lynn: www.mapinc.org/writers/Harichy