A Regina AIDS patient who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes has been charged with illegally growing the drug.

Tom Shapiro who takes marijuana to reduce nausea as part of his treatment for AIDS.

As Gerry Jones reports, Shapiro is blaming his police problems on Health Canada, which licenses people to grow and use medicinal marijuana.

Police showed up at Tom Shapiro's Regina home on Tuesday with a search warrant and seized his marijuana grow equipment and his plants.

His Health Canada license to grow marijuana as part of his AIDS treatment expired in October.

Shapiro had applied to have the license renewed a few weeks prior to the expiry date.

He says Health Canada told him if he had any trouble with police before his new license arrived to phone the emergency line.

Shapiro received his new license from Health Canada Thursday afternoon, about an hour before he was required to report to the police station.

He says he was put in a cell, finger-printed, had his picture taken, and then charged with growning marijuana contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

"I feel I've been jilted by Health Canada on this case," he said. "This is exactly what I was trying to avoid when I asked them about my license being so late."

The Regina police say they have to follow the law and Shapiro didn't have a license to grow marijuana when officers went to his house earlier this week.

Shapiro says he doesn't know when he'll get his grow equipment back.
"For every step forward I'm taking two steps back with my health right now."

He has been ordered to appear in court on March 7.