Source: the Calgary Sun
Website: Pubdate: May 20, 1998
Author: Michael Platt

A double-standard on marijuana means itís all right for Olympic athletes to test positive for the drug but illegal for people to use it for medicinal purposes, a Calgary court heard yesterday.

"When Ross (Rebagliati) won the gold medal in Japan, all of our Canadian officials said itís only a little bit of pot so give him his medal," said Grant Krieger 43, who admitted smoking a joint before court.

Heís charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession. "How come Iíve got charges against me if itís only a little bit of pot?" Snowboarder Reba-gliati tested positive for traces of marijuana and was temporarily stripped of his medal at the Winter Olympics. He got it back after an appeal.

In Albertaís first ever marijuana-rights trial, Krieger is fighting to have laws against medicinal pot use declared unconstitutional.

"I will take this all the way to the Supreme Court if I have to," said Krieger outside court. "Iím willing to go to jail if thatís what it takes." Krieger was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1978. He was arrested last June after he openly tried to hand an ounce of marijuana to a Calgary man who was on trial for cultivating a narcotic.

Outside court, several sign-waving marijuana activists demonstrated in support of Krieger.

"Itís a matter of people not getting access to the medicine they needó itís your body, it should be your choice," said activist Amanda Stewart.

Proponents say marijuana alleviates a wide range of medical problems, including nausea from chemotherapy and pressure on the eyes from glaucoma. Krieger said he gave up prescription drugs for marijuana and pulled himself back from the brink of suicide. He told court he tried to kill himself in 1994 after becoming bed-ridden due to MS.

Krieger said he smokes an ounce of marijuana a week, at a cost of $300. His lawyer, Adriano Iovinelli, said he would argue under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms the law interferes with his clientís quality of life.

"Heís willing to be the martyr for the cause, to give it for medicinal purposes," said Iovinelli.

The judge will rule June 16.

In 1996, Krieger was arrested in Amsterdam for trying to transport a kilogram of marijuana back to Canada. He has yet to stand trial on charges related to that incident.


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