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Polio survivor caught growing pot for medicinal use catches a break in court

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 | 4:15 pm

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(Photo contributed)

By Joe Fries

A Kelowna pensioner who turned to a natural remedy to counter the long-lasting effects of polio caught a break yesterday from an empathetic judge.

Police raided 60-year-old Kevin Donnelly’s home in Rutland on Aug. 21, 2009. In the basement, officers found 20 mature pot plants that were two weeks away from harvest, as well as 20 smaller clones for the next crop.

Donnelly, who walks with a cane and a noticeable limp, pleaded guilty in Kelowna provincial court to production of a controlled substance.

Defence counsel Marty Johnson said it was the first time his client ever tried to grow marijuana, which apparently brings relief from post-polio syndrome, a painful ailment that can affect survivors decades after they were infected.

“He’s having a little self-grown medicine, is he?” observed Judge Gale Sinclair.

Johnson went on to say that Donnelly smokes about $200 worth of pot each week, and receives a pension of just $1,000. The lawyer also told the court it’s difficult for patients to get a medical marijuana licence in the Okanagan.

He added that because the weed was for personal use only, it didn’t put the community at risk like a commercial operation would. Johnson also noted that cops were tipped off to the grow-op by the mother of a woman who used to date one of Donnelly’s sons and that she had an axe to grind.

Crown counsel Marvin Geekie prefaced his sentencing submission by pointing out “the debate in the courts” about dealing with marijuana growers. Geekie asked for a six-month jail term, or, at the very least, a sentence of house arrest.

Johnson begged to differ.

“This is a case that is out of the ordinary, and it’s one that cries out for a suspended sentence,” he said.

The judge agreed.

“What good is it to you or society to send you to jail?” Sinclair said to Donnelly. “It’s not.”

He instead handed down a suspended sentence, equivalent to a year of probation. If Donnelly abides by a few simple terms, the conviction will appear on his record, but he will not receive any further punishment.

joe@kelowna.com
250-575-4303

Polio survivor caught growing pot for medicinal use catches a break in court5.051

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3 Responses to “Polio survivor caught growing pot for medicinal use catches a break in court”

  1. Mott Hoople says:
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    This was a proper way to deal with this. Now apply for your permit and all the best to you.

  2. Poppular says:
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    “officers found 20 mature pot plants that were two weeks away from harvest, as well as 20 smaller clones for the next crop.”

    Photo title says it was a 815 plant operation? Am I missing something?

    Nice to see this guy getting a break – marijuana is medicine!

  3. Marshall Jones says:
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    Thanks Poppular,

    That was an editing mistake. The cutline on a file photo was inadvertently included with the photo. It has been removed.

    Marshall Jones,
    editor

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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