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Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jan 2001
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2001, The Globe and Mail Company


Calgary - The Crown is appealing a controversial ruling that allows people to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes.

In December, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Darlene Acton stayed cultivation charges against Grant Krieger, who has multiple sclerosis and uses cannabis to treat his symptoms.

Judge Acton said it was "absurd" the federal government grants medical exemptions to its possession laws, but provides no way to get the drug.  "There is no legal source for cannabis," she noted.  "The exemption triggers the absurdity that to obtain a product one has to take part in an illegal act."

Judge Acton gave Parliament 12 months to change the drug legislation so that sick patients can get medicinal cannabis.

However, Mr.  Krieger still faces a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking.  The trial by judge and jury is set for June 18.

The charge was laid in August 1999 after police allegedly found a small hydroponic growing operation at Mr.  Krieger's home and seized 29 plants.  Later this month, Mr.  Krieger starts serving 22 days in jail for failure to pay previous fines received for breaching probation.

"I am still going to take a quarter-pound of marijuana with me to jail and if they decide to seize it, I will sue them ...  I'm not going to jail in a wheelchair."

He said he hasn't been able to walk in the past when forced to refrain from taking marijuana to ease his pain.

Mr.  Krieger said he can't have his marijuana delivered to his jail cell on a daily basis because that would make the courier guilty of a criminal offence.  "If I ask my sons to bring me my pot they're going to get nailed for trafficking - I can't have that," he said.  "The laws are a mess."

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