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Steve Tuck smokes pot to relieve chronic spinal pain
stemming from an accident that befell the former 
Army paratrooper during a military exercise. 
He fled to Canada from California after receiving
a tip that drug agents were bearing down
on him and his "grow-ops" in Humboldt County.

Al Seib ~  LAT


Pot 'Refugee' On Way To U.S. After Hopes for Appeal Dashed


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Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, October 8, 2005
Copyright: 2005 Vancouver Sun 
Contact: [email protected]

Vancouver, B.C. -- Moments after Steven Tuck regained consciousness Friday, Canadian border security officers slapped him in handcuffs and whisked him out of St. Paul's Hospital emergency ward, catheter and all.

One of a number of high-profile American medical marijuana refugees, Tuck's hopes of an 11th-hour appeal halting his return to the U.S were dashed.

He now is on his way back to face pot-growing charges in California and potential federal charges related to his flight from prosecution.

The 38-year-old pot activist said he deserved protection because he claims to have donated thousands of pot seeds to Health Canada's fledgling medical marijuana program when he entered the country five years ago.

Severely injured during a stint in the U.S. military, Tuck requires massive doses of painkillers that leave him nauseous. He smokes marijuana, as do many cancer and AIDS patients, to relieve that sick feeling.

He was admitted to St. Paul's around noon Thursday complaining of severe intestinal cramps. He was catheterized, medicated and released. He was re-admitted Friday morning in extreme pain.

Doctors treated him throughout the morning.

About lunchtime, three Canada Border Services Agency enforcement officers arrived at the hospital.

Shortly afterwards, they bundled him into a silver grey Ford Explorer and whisked him away.

Calls by The Sun to the officer who oversaw the takedown were not returned.

Tuck's case is important because he is one of hundreds -- perhaps thousands, say some lawyers -- of U.S. citizens who have fled to Canada along what is known as the Underground Marijuana Railroad.

"My need for medical cannabis is the central point in my seeking the protection of Canada -- I might not survive due process if I were deprived of cannabis while being held on bail awaiting trial," Tuck told me shortly after he learned he again faced repatriation.

"I was advised by my attorney to flee for my life."

A well-known member of the B.C. Compassion Society, the city's medical pot dispensary, Tuck had his refugee claim denied last year and he was ordered out of the country.

He asked for a review, however, on the grounds that he faced cruel and unusual treatment because of harsh American drug laws.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada concluded there was no such risk and told Tuck to report to the border agency in Surrey Thursday to be surrendered to U.S. authorities.

The department believes Tuck should be returned to the U.S. because there is no expert evidence to support his medical claims and his alleged donation to Health Canada is irrelevant.

Tuck was unable to persuade the federal court earlier this week to intervene.

When he did not present himself as required by the departure order, the border agency moved in to arrest him.

Note: American Steven Tuck faces possible pot-growing charges.

Related Articles:

Ill Americans Seek Marijuana's Relief in Canada

California Men Face Hearing in Canada

Nothing Easy About Life In Exile



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