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(CAN) Quebec man with medical marijuana permit facing drug-trafficking charges

JOLIETTE, Que. — A Quebec man who has a permit from Health Canada allowing him to cultivate marijuana for therapeutic purposes is facing drug-trafficking charges.

marijuana leaf cannabis pot Yvan Ferland, 50, is charged with one count of cannabis production and one of possession after police discovered 45 kilograms of the drug at his home in December 2007.

That exceeded the five kilograms his licence allowed him to have.

Ferland, who often burst into tears as he testified at his jury trial Friday, has steadfastly maintained his  innocence.

He has admitted surpassing the limit but says he followed recommendations by Health Canada to conserve everything he didn’t consume and turn it into compost.

Ferland, a former bush pilot, told jurors that cannabis was the only remedy to alleviate the back pain he’s suffered since a crash in 2001.

His lawyer, Patrick Davis, questioned Ferland about his living in constant pain and in abject poverty with about 10 cats in a modest residence in St-Norbert, a rural town northeast of Montreal.

Ferland says the excess material seized by police was non-consumable waste – notably branches and twigs from the plants – and destined for his compost pile.

Ferland, a vegetarian, says he used the compost to help grow his own vegetables.

He said he had no criminal intent, never sold drugs to anyone and never produced cannabis other than for his own personal therapeutic reasons.

The trial was delayed numerous times because of Ferland’s poor health.

On Monday, lawyers will present their final arguments to the jury

Quebec Superior Court Justice James Brunton is then expected to sequester them on Tuesday.


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