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The Maple Leaflet Vol. 1 # 4 (August 1996)
The Monthly Newsletter from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws In Canada
Umberto Iorfida - Editor
- ** Terry Parker - Hero ; Medical Marijuana Pioneer
- ** Contact NORML Canada.
- ** Starting a Chapter
- ** Petitions send a message.
- ** BACK to MAIN MENU (at Newsletter selections).
N.O.R.M.L. CANADA wants to hear from you. All letters, rally announcements, news articles, bust reports, from across the country are welcome. We will compile the data and prepare presentations to the SENATE OF CANADA.
Contact NORML Canada
We welcome all submissions such as announcements of the opening of hemp shops, book releases, and your tips for citizen action. Always include an LSAE.
Umberto Iorfida, President
tel. 905 833-3167 :: fax 905 833-3682 :: EMAIL NORML Canada now (email@example.com)
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Inquiries for chapters have been coming in from many parts of Canada. To form a chapter in your area, ten (10) paid members are required. Any person wishing to do so, may be the spokesperson for that chapter and send for our Chapter Start-up Kit . Each Kit request must be accompanied by a $15.00 M.O. or by certified cheque. This fee is refundable on certification of the chapter. For more information, write to N.O.R.M.L. Canada.
Starting a Chapter
Network First - Others May Be Already On The Same RoadIf you are forming a chapter in your area, be sure you contact headquarters. Someone else might already have started a chapter but needs other like minded individuals to assist. N.O.R.M.L. Canada will coordinate others with you. If you are looking for a chapter in your area, please contact headquarters first.
We are pleased to announce that Cannabis Canada is now carrying our advertisement. Be sure to pick up your fall edition at the hemp shop nearest you.
CHAPTER TIPSPersons involved with the formation of a chapter of N.O.R.M.L. Canada, may find the following useful. We will try to include a few helpful facts in this column each issue.
The location and premises of the chapter should openly display three things : 1) a Canadian Flag, 2) A copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights, and 3) a copy of the Constitution of Canada. Optional is a fourth item : 4) a copy of the Declaration on the Decade of Disabled Persons. All of these are available from your M.P. or directly from Supplies and Services Canada in Ottawa.
The Charter of Rights guarantees your right of assembly. To display the Charter is patriotic.
The Declaration of the Disabled Persons, is a commitment to disabled people, providing for access to medical remedy, and to seek same wherever it is available.
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In order to communicate our specific goals to government, and to show our real strength, over the years, N.O.R.M.L. Canada has utilized member and non-member participation by way of petitions. Petitions are the shortest route to citizens action. The general feeling that one person can not make a difference could not be further from the truth. It has been the power of the individual joined with many other individuals on petitions that has helped this country build its future.
Petitions Are People Power
Statistics Canada indicates that as of 1992, 2.9 million people in Canada possess a criminal record for drug charges. Dr. Patricia Erickson, (Head Scientist, Addiction Research Foundation) decried at a Western University, London Ontario, Canadian Cannabis Policy Conference, that 85% to 90% of those charges were cannabis related. Further, 85% to 90% of those charges were for simple possession of marijuana. This population of approximately 2.3 million people may account for only half of the Canadian population affected by the cannabis issue. For too long this group of otherwise law abiding citizens has been systematically abused. Police raids, newspaper smear campaigns, and other harassment, perpetrated by the very government which operates under the name "democracy", has effectively denied marijuana users any participation in the processes of government.
One of N.O.R.M.L. Canada's missions is to create a gigantic nationwide petition drive to clearly and strongly send a message to Parliament.
For copies of this petition, please write N.O.R.M.L. CANADA. Be sure to include an LSASE PER REQUEST. M.P's. wishing to represent constituents in their riding that require representation in this issue are asked to contact N.O.R.M.L. CANADA. Please include your position on the issue of Cannabis in Canada.
Other Terry Parker Articles and Links
Top of Terry Parker article..
(Photo courtesy of Umberto Iorfida)
Terry P arker ; Pot Smoker Extrordinaire' an article by Umberto Iorfida, NORML Canada president. Name and address of lawyer for Terry Parker's case.Dana Larsen considered no fewer than 3 writers to produce the following article which will appear in the next issue of Cannabis Canada Magazine. As it turns out, Dana picked Umberto Iorfida, president of NORML Canada to pen this exceedingly relevant history.When the Toronto Canada Police Department, decided to raid the two bedroom apartment of Terry Parker, they may have come face to face with a 'Pot Superman' . They were armed with their lead box and their kryptonite, though. The badges were the 'lead box' and the search warrant was the 'kryptonite', containing the charges of "cultivation for the purpose of trafficking".
There could be no better choice, considering that Terry and Umberto had worked together for years back when the re-chartering of NORML Canada was taking place.
Prior to that, Umberto and Terry, after successfully organizing one of Canada's most successful marijuana legalization rallies in the Summer of 1979, were appointed to the positions of National Director and Assistant National Director respectively. Before that, both were rank and file members.
Parker's door came down with a battering ram, splintered and smashed. An action which caused his landlord to serve notice of eviction the same day. Like vultures tearing apart a carcass that was not even dead yet, they swooped in for the kill. His visiting girlfriend Sharon had attempted to open the door for the officers, upon hearing strange noises of "Police, open the door"!! With not enough time to unlatch and unlock it, she was practically injured in the entry as she was forced to watch with horror, the destruction that ensued.
She was also charged. Situated on the 22nd floor, high above Toronto, overlooking Lake Ontario, it is hard to imagine just where the police figured that the well known inhabitant could escape to. Acting on a tip that Parker was growing marijuana on the balcony of his apartment, they proceeded to seize a crop of 71 plants of Cannabis Sativa in various stages of growth, some near maturity, others still in the seedling stage.
The police were fully aware that in 1987 Terry had won the right in court, to not be found guilty of possession of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Judge Kenneth Langdon of the Brampton Provincial Court of Ontario had ruled in Terry's favour. The decision had come after numerous appearances by Terry on similar charges of possession,
So why were they so surprised that he was growing Pot? Parker believed in his mind that having been found not guilty in the 1987 case, that he had the right to possess cannabis whether in ready-to-smoke form, or growing on the stalk, and that his victory included the right to access in any form.
Both before and after winning the right to possess for medical purposes, Terry Parker, assisted by this writer, communicated with numerous government officials to request and obtain access to a supply of legal medical marijuana. He was met with closed doors at every turn. His lobbying led to discussions, letters and petitions with the Departments of Health and Justice, the Bureau of Dangerous Drugs, the Office of the Prime Minister, Federal MP's, Senate Committees, the House of Commons, Canadian Medical Association, and the Chiefs of Police Association.
Within the Province of Ontario he contacted the Ontario Bar Association, the Epilepsy Foundation, the Ontario Medical Association, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Ombudmans Office, the Bureau of Advocacy for the Rights of Disabled Persons, the Ex-psychiatric Patients Association, Local MP's, and the Addiction Research Foundation. Tirelessly he asked all possible authorities for help and direction in gaining access to marijuana to fulfill his court victory and administer to his medicinal need.
Throughout the last 15 years you could find Parker on many occasions walking through the streets of downtown Toronto. From Roncesvale to Yonge, from the water front to Bloor St. Terry carried a 60 lb. hemp back-sack, attached to which was a six foot sign towering above his head : "Legalize Marijuana", "Medical Marijuana", "No More Prisoners Of Weed", & "Join N.O.R.M.L. CANADA", were only a few of the slogans that could be seen for a block or more across the busy traffic. You could hear his loud voice, like a town crier bellowing out the need to consider medical marijuana. In time he became a fixture along the sidewalks of this major downtown core. He never grew tired of stopping to speak to, and answer the questions of novices and veterans alike about the cannabis issue. Yet, what was his reward ?
He is sad today after loosing his medication, but does "drug enforcement" work with compassion ? Do the Government of Canada and the Ministers of Health recognize Terry's situation as Medical Applicant ? All the doors for legal access to marijuana for medicinal purposes were slammed in his face. In fact according to Parker, some of the bureaucrats he approached even advised him verbally to 'grow his own'. I doubt, however that they would ever admit this publicly. (But if any should step forward to confirm such advice given, NORML Canada will publish it).
So he did (grow his own that is) ...
Parker's home was taken apart with extreme force and his medicine was carted away. He was charged with "cultivation of cannabis sativa for the purpose of trafficking". He has approached Lawyer Aaron Harnett, known for representing Grant Krieger of Regina Saskatchewan, to defend him on the charges and prepare a constitutional challenge, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This writer and N.O.R.M.L. Canada have agreed to assist once again in the preparations for the case.
If convicted Parker could face upwards of 14 years imprisonment. The opinion gathered prior to this article, is that this would constitute harsh and unusual punishment, not to mention violation of Parker's rights as a patient in need of medical remedy.
The Frankfurt Resolutions and the World Health Organization both provide for the rights of autonomy of one's body, and the right to seek medical remedy for improved health, and seek such remedy wherever it is available, exempt from prosecution and persecution regardless of borders and laws prohibitive of such substances.
So just who is Terry Parker ? Victim ? Crusader ? Superman ? Criminal ? ? ?
Parker, injured in a swing accident at the age of four years, was beset by the illness staticus epilepticus (the severest of the Grand Mal seizures which characterize epilepsy). Hard life, suffering, abuse and persecution, are no strangers to this man.
In 1969 and 1972 Terry underwent what he claims, was experimental psycho-surgical behaviour modification. This surgery was twice performed with the intent of removing those portions of the human brain thought responsible for causing Terry's uncontrollable, life-threatening seizures.
Epilepsy is characterized by bouts of convulsions, 20 to 30 minutes in duration, that make the unfamiliar cringe with horror and helplessness. The lobotomies left permanent scars, a constant reminder, stretching from the temporal lobe to the back of his head ; a hideousness he would have to live with. Memories of the surgery are still vivid in his mind. And yet the surgeries were unsuccessful in producing an end to the severity and the dangers of epilepsy's grasp on his existence. Pills became a large part of his daily schedule. At first with numerous doctor prescribed mind altering drugs, later with massive amounts of Tegretol and Mysoline, he was ordered to treat his illness with these medications having side effects such as erratic, self-destructive and potentially abusive or aggressive behaviour.
Education was soon out of reach. Labeled anti-social by ignorant educators, with no effective treatment forthcoming from the doctors, Terry was left alone in his own world.
From the years 1968 to 1979 Terry was shifted from one psychiatric ward to another. He found himself an "unwilling prisoner" of places like the Clark Institute in Toronto, or the halls of the Addiction Research Foundation, and various hospital wards around the city.
His admissions to emergency rooms throughout the city by ambulance, became commonplace. I recall one instance in which, during a seizure in an underground subway station, he was robbed of his money and guitar, and beaten as a drunk.
The police attending, rousted him for appearing drunk in public and eventually jailed him for protesting and belligerence. Talk about double jeopardy.
Parker does not, and never has, consumed alcohol, having learned in his early years that alcohol would trigger seizures, even in minute amounts.
In 1976 Terry discovered cannabis. While registered as an in patient at one of the Toronto institutes, another patient with epilepsy introduced him to a marijuana 'joint'. Soon after smoking it, he became aware that the impending feeling of doom associated with his type of grand mal seizures had subsided. Terry found himself drawn to this strange feeling of freedom, and was elated at his new found relief.
It had been many years since he had felt in control of his body. He told his doctors of his experience, but found that he was soon being considered a perfect candidate for behaviour modification surgery. With societal attitudes toward cannabis use, he was prepared for the procedure, including electro-shock therapy. He still claims to this day that the surgery was experimental and contrary to Nuremberg Provisions (1946 trials), establishing a codes of ethics for human experimentation and mutilation.
N.O.R.M.L. CANADA was aware of Terry. Terry was a member of N.O.R.M.L. in 1978. His protesting of the surgery, and his desire to use marijuana for seizure control, led to a 1979 study at the Addiction Research Foundation in Toronto. The essence and the purpose of the study entitled "The effects of Marijuana and Epileptic Seizures in Man" were to test his claim that marijuana helped him. Parker enlisted as a volunteer subject. The nine week study was inconclusive. Spending $100,000.00 of tax money and nine weeks had proved fruitless. According to Parker, this was the next spear to pierce his rapidly disintegrating life. He claims that fraud was exercised when the ARF used 'THC delta 9' in inhalation form. Some form of smoking material was sprayed with liquid synthetic 'tetra-hydra-cannibinol delta 9' and administered as a crude simulated form of marijuana. Terry believes that he was used as a guinea pig, but the substance used was not natural form cannabis sativa, his true medical salvation.
It is clear that he felt abused, by a system intent on avoiding the real issue of cannabis benefits, by planting disinformation. Nothing would please Parker more than to bring court action against the ARF, the doctors, and some Toronto lawyers who refused to seek compensation for him, in spite of agreeing with Terry's claims that a new study was warranted using crude form marijuana. Could it be that the medical profession was afraid of the reality of cannabis and its potential medicinal benefits ?
Terry believes this with fervor, even insinuating that it is part of the decades old, continuous, hypocritical war against otherwise law abiding Canadian citizens, especially disabled persons. This writer joins Terry's plea for medical marijuana, and freedom from prosecution for all marijuana users.
From 1978, the year Parker was first arrested (there have been a number since) to the year 1987, much of his time was spent in court pleading medicinal need and in jail serving time as a criminal, backed by the 1979 Regina vs. Hausser and the 1984 Regina vs. Perka (the former regarding Health and Welfare vs. Criminal Justice, the later regarding establishing medical criteria for compassionate use).
Terry became active in N.O.R.M.L. Canada's Toronto chapter office, and in 1980 was elected Assistant Executive National Director with yours truly, Umberto Iorfida, present President of N.O.R.M.L. Canada.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada, had broken from the original NORML (of which it had been an authorized chapter), in the USA, and had taken root and established Canadian Corporate Status, run and operated entirely by Canadians for Canadians. Members included various political, legal, educational and medical advocates of cannabis. During these times in the '70's, the Le Dain Commission Inquiry into the non-medical use of drugs in Canada and the Liberal party of Canada had recommended and promised decriminalization.
With the onset of the U.S. based, Nancy Reagan "just say No campaign" came a new low in Canada : the passing of section 462.2 of the Criminal Code (banning drug literature which "promotes" illicit drug use).
The Era of Cold Silence began. With fear in the atmosphere in an unprecedented degree, N.O.R.M.L. Canada all but disappeared and so had open participation by individuals ready to face the issues of cannabis education. Yet again suppressed ! Yet Parker fought on.
During this period of "the literature and education ban", police and prosecutors viewed any legalization activity or discussion as a crime.
The constitutional victory by NORML Canada/Umberto Iorfida from 1992-1995 came 8 years to the date after Terry Parker walked out of a Brampton, Ontario Courthouse a 'free man'.
In 1987 (and again in 1988 in the Federal appeal process) Parker was cleared of the charge "possession of cannabis sativa" on the basis of medicinal necessity and compassionate use. Parker was elated yet very surprised upon hearing Judge Kenneth Langdon's decision (later upheld by Federal Judge B. Shapiro in 1988).
Over the next 6 or 7 years Terry continued in his drive to obtain legal marijuana through legal channels, but none were there and none came into being. He also found that most bureaucracies were unwilling to initiate legal channels. His victory joy was soon dashed, much like his dream of a productive life, free of pain and horror. Even if it did destroy a few brain cells, using marijuana did not compare to the brain cell destruction and impairment of the quality of his motor functions by epileptic seizures. What could be more humiliating and more cruel than allowing him to suffer publicly, while keeping a natural remedy such as pot away from his reach ? Rather than face yet another excruciating surgery, he decided to produce his own access by growing his own.
That's what brought the local police and the Narcotics Forces to his door.
Between the seizures, one man demonstrations, and playing the guitar, Parker launched a campaign bent on exposing illicit human experiments, and cruel and inhuman abuse of disabled persons.
Is there a connection, a conspiracy by authorities to torture and make life miserable for disabled persons ?
History records that hundreds of thousands of disabled persons were among those selected by the Germans to suffer in psychiatric wards, or detention camps, and ultimately to be industrially exterminated both before and during World War II.
Terry believes that the actions and policies directed against him over the last 20 years were no accident. Terry also believes at times that he was unknowingly fitted with implants (and he has the X-rays) that are electronically controlled.
"I'm a walking cyborg", he says laughingly. Is he deluded, or is this the protective shield he has built around himself ? There's no doubt that life has dealt Terry an incredibly splintered existence.
The answer may lie in the upcoming court battle which will start in early to middle 1997. Terry hopes to mount a constitutional battle in an effort to establish non-criminal provisions to provide himself with his "herb of Life". For him anything less would be comparable to condemning his life to torture and issuing an order of execution ; to wit ; death by "epileptic Russian roulette" due to prohibition of marijuana.
This is cruel and unusual punishment, callous disregard for human life, and is totally unjustifiable in a free and democratic society. Terry believes in the right to choose, the right to life, and the right to health, through safe and legal access.
The court case will be expensive and will be the second chapter in the Terry Parker Chronicles - one man's battle for legal marijuana. Terry and his lawyer hope to raise money to cover the cost of the trial. Donations can be made directly to MR. TERRY PARKER. Donations can also be sent directly to the legal office of MR. AARON HARNETT ; 75 LOWTHER AVE. ; TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA M5R 1C9. For information email : A. Harnett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact N.O.R.M.L. Canada by email : email@example.com. Also, visit N.O.R.M.L. CANADA'S web site.
N.O.R.M.L. Canada will assist in helping raise awareness and funds for this case and invites participation by others affected by medical marijuana issues.
This case could be indicative of Canada's "No Harm Policy", under the new Controlled Substances Act. This Act received Royal Assent on June 19th of 1996 and is awaiting Proclamation into law by the Governor General of Canada. This will happen in late September or October of 1996 and will be effective immediately as of that day. It is expected that this reinforced version of the Narcotics Control Act is already in effect and in the process of implementation.
Contrary to many esteemed advocates of the cannabis culture, Bill C-8 may hold the mechanisms to make Parker's dream a reality. You can help, we all can help. The drug war is waged at the cost of all Canadian citizens.
Terry Parker, "Pot Superman", believes he can win . A win for one is a win for all.
Go Parker Go !
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