A medical marijuana patient in Toronto is suing the city for $1 million after city officials started closing down marijuana dispensaries. Raymond Hathaway has an inoperable tumor on his spine. He uses a special cannabis-derived oil called Rick Simpson Oil to treat the painful swelling the tumor causes in his back.
But toward the end of May, Toronto law enforcement started cracking down on marijuana dispensaries throughout the city.
The crackdown was called Project Claudia. During the effort, cops shut down some Toronto dispensaries.
And some of them were in Hathaway’s neighborhood. When his local marijuana dispensaries were shut down, he found himself unable to get the medicine he’d been using.
“I consider this harassment and direct attack on my security of person specifically targeting medical cannabis patient access,” he said.
Hathaway has taken his complaints to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. In emails sent to the organization, he explained that the crackdown on dispensaries has left him without the medicine he needs.
As a result, he’s living with more pain and more health problems.
And now he’s filed a complaint against the City of Toronto. In his claim, he demanded $1 million in damages.
For Hathaway, it’s a matter of human rights. His complaint claims that when Toronto law enforcement shut down dispensaries, they infringed on his fundamental human right to access medicine.
“As a person with a diagnosed inoperable tumor I am now wasting an inordinate amount of my limited time sourcing and trying to find medication,” he said.
“I was using a very specific topical treatment and a very effective oral treatment that is now gone.”
The recent crackdowns in Toronto seem to be a step backward for cannabis in Canada.
And it’s been alarming for many in the cannabis community, especially since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long talked about his intentions to legalize the drug.
He made that a key part of his campaign throughout 2015. And as 2016 started, it seemed like his administration could be taking steps in that direction.
But in the wake of last month’s dispensary raids many have questioned whether or not his promises will ever come true.