Jump to content

R. v. Smith


Recommended Posts

[1] On November 8, 2000, Leon Edward Smith (Smith) was arrested by the Saanich Police after he had conducted an open air meeting at the University of Victoria. He was subsequently charged with unlawfully trafficking in marihuana in an amount under 3 kilograms and with unlawfully possessing marihuana under 3 kilograms for the purposes of trafficking contrary to ss. 5(1) and 5(2) respectively of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

[2] The facts are basically not in issue. Police had received a complaint from security services at the University in the fall of 2000 that there was open use of marihuana and possible trafficking on campus near the fountain in front of the library.

[3] Smith, not a student at the University, and president of a club called Hempology 101, regularly held a gathering at this location every Tuesday at 4:20 pm. On this date, plain clothes officers watched Smith drive to the campus with another person, unload a signboard, a small public address system, and a briefcase from his car, and take these articles to the fountain area. He set up the signboard with marihuana literature and pamphlets and hooked up the sound system. At 4:20 pm he jumped onto a rock outcrop and yelled, "It’s 4:20 everybody" and a group of between 30 to 50 people began to congregate. Smith spoke to the gathering for the next half hour about current laws regarding marihuana and about the benefits of medical marihuana. He then removed a home rolled cigarette from a plastic baggie in his pocket, lit it, took a puff, and passed it to a person beside him. After he had done the same with a second cigarette it quickly reached one of the undercover officers who pocketed it. Smith lit and passed along approximately 5 cigarettes before packing up his belongings and returning to his car with his companion. It had been an unremarkable, routine meeting to this point.

[4] Although Smith’s evidence was that he encouraged others to bring their marihuana to share at meetings "in an open act of celebration and empowerment" there was insufficient evidence on this point from which this court could conclude that any other persons at the meeting passed around marihuana cigarettes. Smith’s stated intent in passing out the cigarettes to enable participants to relax and enjoy the rest of their day.

[5] The police waited for the meeting to disband before arresting Smith and searching the briefcase and a soft-sided green bag that he had with him. The briefcase contained marijuana cigarettes, and the green bag contained leafy material and cigarettes. All material seized, told 7.8 grams was analyzed as marijuana. No one else at the meeting was arrested.

How did this come out in the end?

Click here to link to the Provincial Court judgment.

Click here for the very short Appeal judgment from the lower court decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought it was interesting.

It is also my experience that a defendant acting on his own behalf, without counsel, at the Court of Appeal level is not "standard" by any stretch; and that combined with his making "philosophical" arguments in court and the general topic of the case, I thought others here would find it interesting.

Perhaps I was mistaken.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

his making "philosophical" arguments in court

I thought that was interesting too, StnMtn.

[17] Smith also submitted that marihuana is a mood enhancer and therefore performs a "wellness function" which he proposes is a legitimate medical purpose for using the drug. In other words, marihuana has a function with respect to preventative medicine because it has the effect of a general panacea. While this is a novel proposition, there is only the anecdotal evidence of Smith to support it. With respect, there was no medical evidence before this court to support this submission and therefore it is rejected. However, I do find it paradoxical that while Smith acknowledges that the Compassion Club screens to ensure medical necessity for the use of marihuana and acknowledged that the drug is refused to certain classes of individuals, at the same time he submits that it should be used generally to promote health.

[18] On the basis of the evidence, this court cannot conclude that Smith requires marihuana for any medical reason.

I found it odd that he would even be allowed to bring up such an irrelevant point, or that it was included in the judgment for that matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...