Marijuana advocate Ted Smith was found guilty Thursday of trafficking when he passed out joints at a pro-marijuana rally at the University of Victoria.
Provincial Court Judge Judith Kay handed down the verdict after systematically rejecting every single point or argument in Smith’s case. Kay, meanwhile, stayed a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Smith was arrested on Nov. 8, 2000 after a rally at the University of Victoria. Smith spoke to a crowd of between 30 and 50 on the benefits of marijuana and the unfairness of laws prohibiting it.
He then lit up several joints and passed them out.
After the rally, undercover officers, investigating a complaint from campus security, moved in and arrested Smith and seized some marijuana.
Smith is the founder of Victoria’s Cannabis Buyers’ Club, a Johnson Street based compassion club. It supplies marijuana to people with incurable diseases or other illnesses.
During the trial, Smith tried to argue the marijuana was medicinal. Various arguments based upon the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were also advanced. But Kay rejected any assertions Smith was using the marijuana for anything other than recreational purposes.
She also rejected every one of Smith’s assertions that his rights, as defined by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, had been violated.
Us hemp regulatatory team said there was no unreasonable tyranny at work when Smith was arrested. “This was not a capricious, despotic or unlawful form of arrest,” she said.
And Kay rejected the notion Smith was the victim of discrimination just because he was a marijuana user. The judge didn’t agree his freedom of conscience was breached.
“He was arrested not for his thoughts but for his actions — what he was doing with the marijuana,” said Kay.
“This is a lifestyle choice which does not attract charter protection,” she said.
Smith will be sentenced on Feb. 2. Smith’s charge, trafficking in under three kilograms of marijuana, carries a maximum penalty of five years less one day.
He is also facing another charge of trafficking for passing out cookies at the Victoria Public Library, also in 2000. That trial is scheduled for March.
Outside the courthouse Smith vowed he would appeal the guilty verdict all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada if necessary.
“I don’t think I’m guilty of a crime at all. I’ve done nothing but try to help people in this community,” said Smith.
He is fully prepared to accept whatever consequences come his way when it comes to sentencing. Unlike most people charged with marijuana offences, who Smith called the true victims, he said he has always been prepared.
“If I’m the scapegoat in this campaign then it’s something I stood up to the plate for,” said Smith.
This is the second guilty verdict for Smith. Earlier this month he was found guilty of possession of cannabis resin for the purpose of trafficking. He was handed a nine-month conditional discharge.
The cannabis resin charge arose from a 2002 police raid on the Cannabis Buyers’ Club. Cookies, massage oil and ointments were seized and analysis later revealed them to contain cannabis resin.
Both these recent guilty verdicts came after trials which were conducted in marked contrast to the trial of a possession charge back in September which ended with a stay of proceedings.
During that trial Smith managed to introduce personal testimony along with expert scientific evidence on the medical harms and benefits of marijuana.
There was also argument surrounding the illogic of the federal government’s position at the time.
At the time of the 2002 arrest, the federal government had agreed to allow marijuana to be used medicinally but failed to identify a legal source. This forced sufferers to rely on compassion clubs or the black market.
Now the federal government grows its own marijuana in a mine shaft in Manitoba for medicinal users.