Wakeford was diagnosed HIV positive in 1989. The medicines that keep him alive also make him nauseous, which is why he only weighs 129 pounds on a 5'8'' frame. He'd weigh even less if he didn't smoke pot each day to stimulate his appetite and soothe his nausea. He was therefore authorized the use of marijuana.
Legal exemptees like Wakeford, continue to be harassed by the police. Despite being one of the first people in Canada to be allowed to smoke marijuana for medical reasons, he has been arrested several times for growing or buying it.
In November 2001, Jim Wakeford was arrested again, on BC's Sunshine Coast, for sending cannabis in the mail to other exemptees. Wakeford was charged with three counts of trafficking after the mailed medicine was discovered while en-route to its various destinations.
A major victory ensued when Wakeford was found not guilty by BC Judge Dan Moon on December 4, 2001. Judge Moon also ordered the return of Wakeford's pot and grow equipment.
Jim Wakeford is the founder and manager of Oolagen Community Services, a Toronto treatment centre for troubled youth.