Judge Pierre Chevalier imposed a symbolic fine of $1.30 to 46-year-old Mario Larouche, arrested for possession of 30 marijuana plants. Larouche suffers from injuries incurred after a road accident and has been unable to secure a prescription for medical cannabis.
Prosecutors had requested a sentence of 90 days and Larouche’s own defence had asked for a fine of $250.
“If [the accused] had met with a responsible doctor, he would probably have his prescription,” said Chevalier. “The gentleman wouldn’t be in front of this tribunal today. The gentleman is involved in a system that does not give people access to a natural medicine that has been used for centuries, or millennia.”
The judge said that attitudes toward cannabis have changed, and politicians have finally started to catch up with them.
“[Cannabis reform] stagnated in Canada because, politically, people probably were not ready for the laws to change,” Chevalier said. “Irresponsible politicians have simply let things rot because it would cost them votes.”
Chevalier said it doesn’t make sense to enforce laws that arrest people for marijuana possession when the majority of Canadians consume it.
“I think that society is becoming less naive on this subject,” Chevalier said. “These are laws that are obsolete and ridiculous. When presented with laws which would give more than half the Canadian population a criminal record (and probably most crown attorneys and defence attorneys, and perhaps judges), I think it’s time we look much more leniently on this issue.”