Pot activist smokes joint in House of Commons
The faint whiff of marijuana smoke wafted through the air of the House of Commons Monday when a pot activist lit up a joint as Parliamentarians traded barbs during Question Period.
Samuel Mellace took "seven or eight" tokes from his spliff before a security officer "came over and told me to put it out." A glassy-eyed Mellace later told reporters that he left the House of his own volition and "was not escorted off the property."
Mellace lit up in the House's public gallery to protest the fact that Canada's Marijuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) don't include exemptions for alternatives to smoked marijuana, such as creams or food product like butter.
Mellace is among 5,000 Canadians who have permission from the federal government to use medical marijuana. In his case, Mellace smokes to alleviate symptoms from previous leukemia treatments and chronic pain from injuries he suffered in a car accident.
Mellace's wife suffers from lung cancer and cannot smoke, and gets relief by using marijuana in other forms.
But Mellace says despite being an authorized grower for both himself and his wife, the MMAR do not protect him unless they light up.
"My wife can't smoke her medication because she has lung cancer, so I make the butter and smoothies," Mellace said in a news release issued prior to his stunt. "It's ridiculous to think that I could go to jail for easing my wife's suffering."
Mellace said he was also trying to draw attention to delays in processing medical marijuana applications. He said his wife had to wait 10 months for her authorization renewal, despite submitting her paperwork eight weeks prior to the expiration of her previous permit.
Mellace said he could not give his wife medical marijuana without facing a jail term because her authorization had expired.
There was no immediate reaction from the government or opposition MPs to the stunt.