Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, October 8, 2005
Copyright: 2005 Vancouver Sun
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
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
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
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
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
When he did not present himself as required by the departure order, the
border agency moved in to arrest him.
Steven Tuck faces possible pot-growing charges.
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