A lawyer says Ottawa should authorize "compassion clubs" to supply marijuana to people who qualify under the government's medical program.

Allan Young says the federal program creates licenced users of marijana, but does not allow them to buy it from a source of their choosing.

"The biggest problem is a supply issue," he said. "It turns on whether medical users should be compelled to purchase their medicine from a government supply, which only supplies a limited strain of cannabis."

Compassion clubs are private establishments where people can buy marijuana for medicinal use. Young says technically they're illegal, but that none have been successfully prosecuted.

Young's comments come in light of the case involving New Brunswicker Lynn Wood, who was convicted last year of trafficking marijuana. She claims she was operating a compassion club.

Wood's appeal is scheduled to be heard Feb. 23.

The Justice Department has an interest in this case because it's one of 23 cases that challenge the federal marijuana laws, and Wood's could be the first decision to come down.

Wood has declined to speak to news oulets before the appeal is heard.

Alison Myrden, a client of Young's, is a licenced user because marijuana eases the pain of her multiple sclerosis. She prefers the high-grade pot available at compassion clubs over the kind she would get from a government source.

"I don't want to break the law anymore than anybody else does," she said. "These compassion clubs are our bread and butter. We have no place else to go. Nowhere else to shop."