HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Judge Strikes Down Pot Growing Law
Pubdate: Tue, 12 Dec 2000
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2000 Calgary Herald
Contact:  P.O. Box 2400, Stn. M, Calgary, Alberta T2P 0W8
Fax: (403) 235-7379
Author: Daryl Slade


But MS Sufferer Grant Krieger Not To Sell Medicinal Marijuana

An Alberta judge has struck down a portion of federal law that 
prohibits the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes, saying 
it's unconstitutional.

Justice Darlene Acton struck down Section 7(1) of the Controlled 
Drugs and Substances Act Monday, but stayed the decision for a year.

That time, she said, would allow the federal government ample 
opportunity to correct the Charter of Rights and Freedoms breach she 
ruled has been made against marijuana crusader Grant Wayne Krieger.

Acton, as part of the decision, also stayed cultivation charges 
against Krieger, 46, who has multiple sclerosis, and granted him an 
exemption under Section 56 of the act so he can now legally grow the 
illicit drug for his own personal use.

The judge said exemptions permit citizens who require marijuana for 
health reasons to possess the drug, yet what "triggers the absurdity" 
is that they are forced to grow it or purchase it illegally off the 

At least this way, she says, there will be some measure of quality control.

As of Oct. 2, she said, Health Minister Allan Rock has granted 72 
exemptions nationally. He also turned down one person and intended to 
refuse five other applications. Krieger has not applied.

"It would be inhumane to not grant Mr. Krieger an exemption to grow 
marijuana for his own medical use," the judge told court in reading 
her 30-page written decision on Krieger's charter challenge in a 
pre-trial application.

"He has proven to court he needs it and although he hasn't tried 
every available option, no other conventional drugs have been 
successful for him."

Defense lawyer Adriano Iovinelli said the judge has made it "very 
clear" that if the government doesn't react, she'll strike down the 
section of the act."

I'd be very surprised if the government doesn't react, he said.  "She 
anticipates she'll get a reaction."

However, the judge did not go quite as far as Krieger and his lawyer had hoped.

She dismissed a second application that would have permitted Krieger 
to sell the marijuana he grows to others who also require it for 
medical reasons, but may not have a Health Canada exemption.

The judge said she did not find such a limit unjustified and added 
society would not be protected adequately if anyone could distribute 
otherwise illegal drugs to whomever they chose.

Krieger still faces a second charge of possession for the purpose of 
trafficking and is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 10.  His illness 
is an incurable chronic disease of the central nervous system.

Outside court, Krieger was elated with the partial victory . "I'm 
very happy but it's step 1," he said. "It's a very important 
decision, because I need it.

"This means I have no fear of police coming to my house and shutting 
me down," he said.  "However, I feel sorry for those people who are 
in pain and dying and have no supply."
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