Source: the Calgary Herald
Pubdate: May 20, 1998
Author: Daryl Slade

Canadians should be able to use and distribute marijuana to others for medical purposes, says a Saskatchewan man on trial in Calgary.

"I’ll go to the Supreme Court and I¹m willing to go to jail if I have to," Grant Krieger, 43 said outside provincial court. Krieger has multiple sclerosis and says smoking pot has saved his life.

"A statement has to be made. There are a lot of sick people out there and all they want to do is die. This could help them have a better quality of life like it has for me, but a doctor is unable to prescribe it," he said.

Krieger said there also needs to be a distribution system in Canada for the drug for medical purposes.

He has pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking for attempting to give some of the illegal drug to a bedridden Calgary man on trial at Court of Queen’s Bench last June 26. He deliberately smoked a joint in front of police to bring attention to the issue, he testified.

Lawyer Adriano Iovinelli told Judge Robert Davie that the federal law prohibiting use and distribution of marijuana for medical reasons was against his client’s charter rights.

"He’s willing to give it out to someone else who needs it for medical reasons only," said Iovinelli. "So it’s not just his rights we¹re arguing for."

But Crown prosecutor Stephanie Torske said making an exemption for one person to distribute marijuana to others opens the floodgates for others to traffic in the drug.

"We’re not challenging his right to have it for his own use," said Torske. "Its’s him giving it to others whom he feels, in his opinion only, that they should have it for medical use."

Davie will give his decision on the charter argument on June 16.

Lindsay Krieger, 19, said the drug has made a world of difference for her father, who failed in an attempt to commit suicide in December 1994.

"Before he started taking marijuana, he was sick all the time, he couldn¹t walk, he stayed in bed and he was miserable," she said. "Now, he’s better, he gained control of his life. He wants to live."

Grant Krieger, of Preeceville, 270 kilometres east of Saskatoon, said the government is being hypocritical in its law preventing use of marijuana. It rallied to help snowboarder Ross Rebagliati, who tested positive for marijuana, get his Olympic gold medal back, he said. Then it denies sick people like himself from getting pain relief.

"It takes stress off your life," Grant Krieger said. "When Ross won the gold medal in Japan, all our Canadian officials said it was only a little bit of pot, give him back his medal".

"How come I¹ve got a charge against me and it was only a little bit of pot? If you have something in your body that allows your muscles to relax and regenerate faster, is that not an enhancer? That¹s what it does for me."


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