Pubdate: Monday, June 21. 1999
Source: Calgary Herald (Canada)
Author: Brock Ketchum


A Calgary club that lost its entire inventory of marijuana intended
for use by seriously ill Calgarians will attempt to rebuild its supply
by having customers grow the illegal drug in their own homes, says pot
crusader Grant Krieger.

People who permit their homes to be used for cultivation will be
allowed to keep enough of the harvest for their oven medication while
the remainder is sold to other people suffering from debilitating
ailments, said Krieger, founder of the Universal Compassion Club.

Early in the morning of May 31, thieves broke into a Calgary house
where UCC was cultivating marijuana and stole the nearly mature crop,
along with some processed pot. Krieger is launching the club this
month and had counted on the stash to get things rolling with the 25
medicinal pot members.

`I'm putting growing rooms into different sick peoples' houses right
now,' said Krieger, 44, who has multiple sclerosis.

Krieger said UCC, which signed up two more members last week, will
provide home growers the equipment and horticultural know-how to
exercise their green thumbs in the privacy of their homes.

The idea is to spread the pot around so it's not vulnerable to a
single raid by thieves or police.

Cultivation, possession or trafficking of marijuana is a criminal
offence, and Calgary police have said they will not hesitate to
enforce the law.

`I think it's truly ingenious,' commented UCC member Mara Czayka, 37,
who lives in the Turner Valley area and who drove with Krieger and
other Calgary delegates to Grand Forks, B.C. where they attended a
conference of compassion clubs.

Czayka said Krieger raised the idea of growing the plants in members'
homes while they were enroute to Grand Forks.

`I truly support this,' said Czayka, who has fibromyalgia. `We need to
take the stand and have the courage to take this on.'

Krieger said delegates from across Western Canada and the United
States agreed to organize an umbrella group called Canadian Cannabis
Coalition to promote compassion clubs and the legalization of
medicinal pot.

`Oh, man, you would not believe it,' said Grand Forks grower Paul
Dimotoff, the coalition's spokesman. `For the first time in my life,
I've seen egos turned into energy. I've never seen so much compassion.
We had grown men blubbering like children.'

Krieger said he struck deals with Grand Forks growers to sell pot to
UCC. But this - along with its Calgary members' crops - will be far
too little to meet the growing demand, he said. So the coalition is
seeking a federal permit to establish a commercial crop in Grand Forks.

Meanwhile, Krieger is calling on indoor growers in Calgary who supply
the lucrative recreational pot market to set aside a portion of their
production for medicinal users. `We need them to start giving us a
hand,' he said. `There's people dying out there, man.'

Last week, Health Minister Allan Rock announced his department will
invite bids from companies interested in supplying Canadian-grown
marijuana for clinical trials. 
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