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Pot defence rests case

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Craig and Kim MacNearney's trial wrapped up Tuesday afternoon, with lawyers making their final arguments in the marijuana trafficking and production case.

A 14-member jury - 12 of whom will determine a verdict in the case - are to be sequestered this morning by Justice Virginia Schuler to make their decision.

Six of the jurors are younger men - in their 20s and 30s - while five are 40 or older. There are three women jurors.

The MacNearneys were arrested on Feb. 19, 2009 after RCMP found 20 marijuana plants and 729 grams of cultivated marijuana in their home. The Crown alleges the MacNearneys trafficked at least some of the marijuana they grew. Prosecutor Ryan Carrier's case for trafficking is based mainly on a short text message exchange between Craig and his friend, Robert Green, who asked him for "green meds."

On Friday, Kim testified she began using marijuana because of her chronic back pain. Kim said she and her husband began growing their own in 2008 to avoid buying it off the streets. She added she was wary about asking her doctor for a legal prescription because of the stigma associated with the drug.

During cross examination, Kim insisted they did not grow their marijuana to share or sell it.

On Monday, defence lawyer Alison Crowe called Dr. Kevin Kanerva to testify via phone. A physician based out of British Columbia, Kanerva gave Kim her medical marijuana licence on Dec. 15, 2009 - 10 months after she was arrested.

He testified that although Kim was a "clear-cut case" to receive medical marijuana, he felt she would have trouble finding a doctor who would help her access it in Yellowknife.

"The Northwest Territories would probably be the most difficult place to access medical marijuana," Kanerva said.

Kanerva runs the "Do No Harm" clinic based out of Kelowna, B.C. It specializes in getting patients access to medical marijuana. Kanerva testified he's assisted some 1,300 patients get marijuana across Canada.

Crowe's final piece of evidence was an agreed statement of facts from the Canadian Medical Association, outlining the number of authorizations to legally possess marijuana granted in Yellowknife.

The data shows no authorizations issued in Yellowknife in 2008, the year the MacNearneys first began growing marijuana for themselves.

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