HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Pot Grower Won't Stop
Pubdate: Sat, 23 Dec 2000
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2000 The LeaderPost Ltd.
Contact:  1964 Park Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4P 3G4
Fax: (306) 565-2588
Author: Barb Pacholik


He may not have the exclusive contract to produce marijuana legally for
medical purposes in Canada, but a Wolseley-area man says he'll keep growing
his own pot and sharing it with those in need.

"I can likely do it better than they can," Gregory Dunn testified Friday at
his sentencing hearing.

One day after a Saskatoon firm was awarded a contract to become Canada's
supplier of medicinal marijuana, Dunn appeared in Regina Provincial Court to
argue for a lenient sentence because he grows, uses, and distributes pot for
medical purposes. He counts medical marijuana crusader Grant Krieger, who
suffers from multiple sclerosis, among his clients.

Earlier this month, Krieger, formerly of Regina and now of Calgary, was
acquitted of cultivating marijuana after an Alberta judge found the law
unconstitutional since it doesn't allow for medical use of pot.

Dunn, a 44-year-old labourer who suffers from chronic back and leg pain,
pleaded guilty in June to cultivation and possession of marijuana for the
purpose of trafficking. The charges stemmed from the seizure of 231
marijuana plants -- worth an estimated $1.5 million according to police --
from a Wolseley area farm on March 25, 1998.

Judge Ross Moxley reserved his decision on sentencing to Jan. 29.

Defence lawyer Barry Nychuk argued for a fine, probation, or conditional
sentence served in the community. "Mr. Dunn is not a criminal. This is
medical marijuana," he told the court. "I suspect in months to come this
will no longer be a criminal offence," Nychuk added.

But Tim Stodalka questioned Dunn's explanation given the amount of plants
and other drug paraphernalia seized. Stodalka added that, according to a
Saskatoon neurologist who testified, there's no evidence marijuana controls
pain. "It's not medically justified for someone with chronic pain," he said.

Dunn testified he had been an occasional user of marijuana since 1986 but
became a heavy user after he was injured in February 1996 while working on
the oil rigs. He underwent intensive physiotherapy, but still suffers from
excruciating, sharp pain in his back and legs.

"It feels like someone's shoving a thumb into my back." Dunn said pot
controls the pain.

Dunn, who admitted he toked up before coming to court, uses three to six
marijuana cigarettes a day, smoking about an ounce in 10 days. He smokes
less at work because he doesn't want to be fired, he testified. His last job
was with an Alberta construction company.

Dunn has applied to the federal government for a medical exemption so he can
use pot legally. Even if he's turned down, Dunn plans to continue growing,
using and distributing pot "because it helps," he said. He expected one of
his clients to testify on his behalf, but the woman who suffers from brain
cancer landed in hospital.

When Stodalka suggested Dunn had been selling marijuana in southern
Saskatchewan since 1986 and gave specific examples of sales, he denied it.
Court heard Dunn was fined $100 in June 1989 for possession of marijuana.
Dunn maintained he never asked for money from his clients, but some offered
him gifts and one gave him cash at Christmas.

Stodalka also suggested Dunn sold marijuana to help his financially troubled
farm. Dunn said if that was the case, he wouldn't have gone bankrupt earlier
this year and would have running water in his house.

Regina police officer Murray Walton earlier testified plants like Dunn had
could yield five ounces of marijuana each for a total of more than 1,100
ounces. But Dunn maintained he never got more than three-quarters of an
ounce from a single plant. His plants were grown in soil, and not
hydroponically, he added.

Dunn said he still has about three pounds of marijuana -- enough to last him
six months -- in storage at his farm. He's currently growing geraniums
instead of marijuana.
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