Article by Laura Young, NOW Toronto
Welcome to the world of legalized pot. I’ve been working in the trenches helping to spur changes to morality laws for more than 15 years. I’m not a pot smoker and when I started out I was not financially invested in pot.
I was raised deeply immersed in religion on a farm north of Toronto. I’d always volunteered for good causes, but mostly with the local congregations. Meeting Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young changed my views on morality.
I first worked for Alan gathering permissions for the book he was writing – Justice Defiled: Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers & Lawyers. We were also dating. His insights into classical music, painters, philosophers and criminal law were rocking my world.
I was disillusioned with organized religion, but I still felt a deep inner sense of morality. Though Alan talked about pot, prostitution and civil disobedience and scorned certain major organized religions, I felt he had a deep sense of morality, too.
After a dinner break one night, Alan got a call: the Toronto Compassion Club had been raided by police. On his way out the door, he tossed the phone book at me and said, “Call the media.” And so began my years-long efforts on behalf of Alan’s pro bono work and his clients’ causes.
The first call I made was to the Globe and Mail. I related to Campbell Clark, who already knew of Alan’s work, why it was a travesty that these nice young men were in jail for delivering pot to AIDS and cancer patients. And wasn’t it suspicious that the raid came at the time that they were all named as plaintiffs in Alan’s constitutional challenge to Canada’s medical marijuana laws?