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Sointula's marijuana-law hunger striker dies

Nov 22 2011
Before he started his hunger strike moe than a month ago, 69-year-old Istvan Marton weighed 79 kilograms 

Before he started his hunger strike moe than a month ago, 69-year-old Istvan Marton weighed 79 kilograms

Photograph by: Courtesy, Handout

Sointula's Istvan Marton, who was on a hunger strike to protest Canada's marijuana laws, has died of heart failure. He was 69.

His doctor, Jane Clelland, confirmed that Marton died Sunday in Port McNeill Hospital. He had refused to eat for more than a month.

His hunger strike divided his home village on Malcolm Island off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, where he was known as Steve, the local fair-deal marijuana seller.

Friends described him as a respected community supplier of medical and recreational marijuana. But others dismissed him as a drug dealer on a hunger strike to stay out of jail.

Marton was facing a charge of possession of a controlled substance and breaching a conditional sentence from a conviction for the same offence.

"I am going to die," he told the Times Colonist for a story published Sunday. "Even if the charges are dropped, I won't stop the hunger strike until they put back all my marijuana exactly where it was and give me back my $3,000 and change the law."

Clelland said Marton was already unwell with kidney problems and vascular disease before he began subsisting on nothing but juice, water and clear soup.

He was taken to Port McNeill Hospital last Tuesday after suffering a major heart attack.

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