Legal limbo and stigma continues for couple

Legal medical marijuana grow op busted

  • Sep. 28, 2011 10:00 a.m.

If there is a silver lining to the physical suffering and mental anguish that Sooke couple Cam Cavaco and Marnie O’Neil have endured over medicinal marijuana, it is the support they have received and the awareness that has been raised.

The couple launched a lawsuit against the RCMP and Health Canada—both declining comment because the matter is now before the B.C. Supreme Court– last month for damages suffered after RCMP allegedly raided their home in late 2009, destroying their licensed medicinal marijuana production facility without a warrant.

“The effect from that day is ongoing and my husband has lost abilities he will not get back,” said O’Neil, who suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition that causes muscle and connective tissue pain that is alleviated through the use of marijuana. Cavaco, a former RCMP officer serving on the Mainland in the 1980s, has late stage progressive multiple sclerosis leaving him housebound and on a plethora of medication from muscle relaxants to valium–marijuana is the only treatment that doesn’t come with severe side effects.

Since taking legal action, O’Neil said there has been a “tsunami of correspondence” from people letting them know they are not alone in this experience, and that others are pursuing a similar course.

“We have just had an overwhelming amount of thank yous, you know, thank you for fighting when we can’t. Lots of support to help to get people to understand this is not just a bunch of 15-year-old kids smoking pot,” she said.

“These people are chronically and terminally ill, and stress kills. There has to be some kind of responsibility held to both Health Canada and the RCMP in this kind of process.”

The biggest reason the couple is turning to the courts is education, said O’Neil who also spoke on her husband’s behalf due to his worsening condition.

“A huge part of the responsibility lies with Health Canada. They have left patients in legal limbo that allow the RCMP a window (to raid), but there has to be some kind of responsibility to community policing. They had no understanding of our challenges.”

The problem is a lingering stigma associated with the drug, said O’Neil. Physicians have been quick to issue prescriptions, but the pharmacy doesn’t decide when, or if, they are filled. She waited over eight months for Health Canada to process her full license, and Cavaco still hasn’t received a proper renewal despite being one of the first Canadian license holders in 2000.

“It comes down to treating people kindly and communicating and understanding this is medication.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read