Day Three of Allard et al. V. Her Majesty the Queen

By Cori Petersen

The third day of the trial began with hearing evidence from the injunction’s namesake, Neil Allard. The crown asked many in-depth questions of Mr. Allard by the time the first break was called at 11:25 AM. The questions covered Mr. Allard’s handling and regulation of his Cannabis garden.

The prevailing view expressed during Mr. Allard’s testimony was that the safety of medicine—even semi-illicit medicine—is basically equal to that of food safety… except the crown seemed, for unknown reason, to put a higher need on the safety of medicine.

When the crown used the term “Grow-op,” Allard replied “Grow-op is an RCMP term, what I have is a medical Cannabis garden.”

The crown repeatedly raised the issues of time spent tending to gardens, the use of grow boxes, and injuries sustained during the care of the garden. Mr. Allard replied to the question of injury by pointing out that his use of mechanical assistance, such dolleys and wheeled mechanics’ stools makes his garden work “gentle” by nature.

Mr. Allard and the lawyer for the defense agreed on almost nothing regarding his finances. The closest the two sides came was the ballpark figure for his current cultivation expenses of approximately $230 to $250 per month. At one point, when asked if his car was valued at $800, Allard thought that amount was somewhat optimistic, creating waves of giggles throughout the courtroom.

The most awkward moment for the defense came when their lawyer had to backpedal, being forced to admit—on the record—that he had erroneously asserted that if Allard quit cultivation, then he would no longer need to smoke or vaporize the substance, obviously confusing “LP Production,” with “Miraculous cure.”

Asking hypothetical questions of Mr. Allard was no more fruitful, as he contended that he would not consider obtaining his medicine from an large-scale producer (LP) in almost any event, especially after being asked if it was feasible to reduce his intake by almost 14 grams a day, by paying the lowest rate offered by LP’s. At this point, even Justice Phelan thought it was rather unreasonable to ask a patient a hypothetical about reducing medicine so greatly. In a trial, if even the judge thinks you’ve gone too far, you have a serious problem.

The $2.50 quoted by the lawyer for the defense seemed ludicrous, when $5 is the lowest price most anyone has seen offered… and considering that the government’s plan includes the elimination of competition amongst producers, lower prices are almost the last result one would expect. Lowerquality, certainly, but not lower prices. Additionally, the efficacy of said $5 or $2.50 strains may not be high enough to have medicinal qualities for the truly ill.

Mr. Allard said that it is an increase of 1600% to be asked to supply one self via LP at anywhere from $1,500 – $6,000 per month, versus supplying via growing your own at $230-ish per month.

The amount of Cannabis prescribed to Mr. Allard has increased over time, at one point taking two years to increase 2 grams a day. The increase was attributed to the fact that Allard now consumes Cannabis in many ways including “live juicing” which has little or no psychoactive effects, and what current science perceives as the most health benefits. A topical and edible grape-seed oil infusion was also described.

Mr. Allard has to take more care than an average grower of Cannabis, due to allergies he suffers from. Mr Allard has allergic reactions to some foods, most pharmaceuticals and many chemical cleaners.

In 2004, when Allard was just starting his cultivation, he was notified by an official during his initial application process that “home-growing” was already on it’s way out. Allard wrote a letter to the then-Premier of BC and supposedly published on the cover of the North Island Gazette, regarding the fact that it would bankrupt patients and make procuring medicine nearly impossible—certainly unaffordable—if growing were taken out of his and other patients’ hands… he received a soothing, non-committal letter in reply (“soothing,” and “non-committal” may be taken as givens, considering that the letter was from a politician). Ten years later, the battle continues.

Neil Allard’s testimony ended with the lunch break called at 12:30pm.

Resuming after the lunch break was Zachary Walsh, a registered clinical psychologist and professor at UBC. Walsh was questioned regarding Cannabis Access for Medical Purposes Survey (CAMPS).

So ended day three.