Q: How many lawyer jokes are there?
A: Just two, all the rest are true.
Should you search for “lawyer jokes” on Google, you will be rewarded with page after page of jokes about lawyers and their resemblance to snakes, bottom feeders, and many unflattering comparisons.
I would like to do something different.
I would like to thank and sing the praises of the lawyers.
Whether you are a medical marijuana patient or a recreational user eager for legalization in Canada, you owe some thanks to the lawyers who have fought a long arduous battle to get all of Canada to this long overdue and historic moment.
I would like to thank John Conroy, the lawyer who saved my garden when he represented patients in a constitutional challenge now simply referred to as the Allard Injunction. John has dedicated his life to this cause as the founder and president of NORML Canada. I’ve watched over the years as activists have questioned his legal acumen, his motivations, even his character but what I have not noticed is the heartfelt gratitude we owe John. There were patients that were left out of the injunction due to the decisions of Judge Phelan, the judge in charge of hearing our case, that Mr. Conroy continued to fight for even when some of us were content that our personal gardens were protected.
I want to thank John Conroy for all the sleepless nights he spent writing the arguments and motions on behalf of medical marijuana patients. I want to thank him for putting up with us when we were untrusting, belligerent, and downright rude. I also want to thank John’s beautiful and gracious wife, Sharie for all those days and nights she allowed us to monopolize her husband’s time and energy when all she was hoping for was a quiet dinner on the farm. John Conroy, I like many patients owe you for not only for preserving my garden but for the resulting good health I have been able to accomplish with my access to medical cannabis.
Thank you for my life.
Thank you to Alan Young, the civil liberties powerhouse, that one told me I would never see legalization in my lifetime. Without Alan, we would have no medical marijuana program, (Clay)(Parker) dispensaries(Hitzig), or a number of other freedoms we freedom loving Canadians enjoy (Bedford). I greatly admired Alan when I would read the newspaper dreaming of one day becoming a lawyer, lucky for me I became a medical cannabis patient instead.
I’ve always felt fortunate and a little star struck to have Alan Young know be by name. if you haven’t read it, check out his book, ” Justice Defiled: Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers and Lawyers“ (Toronto: Key Porter, 2003), turns out I’m in some pretty good company. I would like to thank Alan for not only helping provide medical marijuana access to thousands of ill Canadians, but for being the voice and champion of our wrongfully arrested patients and colleagues, but most of all for being humble enough to admit when he was wrong (provided my lifetime lasts another year or two). Thank you for keeping us determined.
Thank you to Kirk Tousaw, who though he lives completely across the country, has answered my panicked phone calls, my emails and most importantly answered to the call of Owen Smith, when Owen was arrested for baking cookies for patients at a compassion club. As a baker and patient advocate Kirk’s work on the “Smith Case”, has had the most impact. There is no longer a worry about spending more time incarcerated than a sex offender would, simply by making cookies for patients or even myself. Bakers, patients and parents owe Mr. Tousaw a debt of gratitude that now patients have a right to access cannabis is all of its forms. Thank you for giving us autonomy of choice.
Paul Lewin represented Matt Mernagh, in a case that almost made cannabis legal in Ontario. Though the case was lost on appeal, Mr. Lewin has since taken an active role as the Ontario representative for NORML Canada. I’ve gotten to know Paul of the last few years and what I would really like to thank him for is not only keeping my friend Matt out of jail but for becoming an incredible activist himself. Paul shows up, even though he has a busy law practice and a young family, he shows up to rallies, to emergency meetings, to brainstorming sessions, and lucky for his clients he shows up for court.
Mr. Lewin is about to take on another battle and one that will shape the future of cannabis in Canada. Paul is going to help my friend John launch a constitutional challenge against the prohibition of cannabis seeds. This is an important case for many reasons, the most obvious is being able to retain the genetics and seed banks our growers and breeders have risked everything for to help create that treat the specific symptoms of our patients. Watch for more information about this case over the coming months and in the meantime I want to thank Paul Lewin for showing up and fighting for us when we need him.
There are many other great lawyers out there that deserve credit for their tireless efforts against prohibition but these are the four that have impacted my life as a patient, as an advocate and as a Canadian.
So the next time someone asks you how many lawyers does it take to legalize marijuana? You don’t have to wait for a punch line to know the answer.