Support pours in for couple’s lawsuit against RCMP medical-marijuana raid

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.

  • Sep. 21, 2011 3:00 p.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.”

Just Posted

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

Victoria wins crucial WHL contest over Giants in Langley

Royals take over second in B.C. Division ahead of Vancouver

Cordova Bay group against plaza redevelopment

Cordova Bay shopping centre has three, four-storey buildings

Man hospitalized after early morning Sooke Road crash

Police say injuries are non life-threatening

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read