HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Marijuana Protester Shouldn't Go Public
Pubdate: Dec 30, 1998
Source: Calgary Herald (Canada)
Author: John Gradon


Grant Krieger should fly solo when he chooses to navigate deliberately
towards ever-increasing confrontations with the law.

While sympathizing with Krieger because of his medical condition -- he has
multiple sclerosis -- neither city police, nor I as it happens, can find any
justification in him using his problems to flaunt the current laws of the

Krieger, 44, has become a messiah of pot and, despite various court
appearances on drug-related charges, he continues with near-religious
fervour to extol the virtues of marijuana's healing powers.

One might have been tempted to leave the matter well enough alone if the
no-doubt sincere, but likely misguided Krieger had confined his self-help
health care experimentation to himself.

But no, he now intends to spread his questionable gospel among more of the
unfortunate and draw them, too, into possible open confrontation with the

Could it be there's "safety" in numbers?

He has come up with the ludicrous idea of forming a Calgary Compassion Club
that will give his fellow patients access to pot produced by local
hydroponic growers of the drug.

That would, inevitably, involve possession and trafficking in drugs.

Only the naive or heedless need apply for membership.

For make no mistake, the law, which currently states that marijuana is an
illegal substance, will be applied to the full by the Calgary Police

Deputy Chief Jack Beaton is acting chief in Christine Silverberg's winter
vacation absence.

As it happens, he also serves on the drug abuse committee of the Canadian
Association of Police Chiefs.

Any arguments for the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana must be
laid aside, he says.

"We are here to apply the law as it currently stands. That's why we exist.
There is no dilemma for us in regard to Mr. Krieger," he says.

"When people stand on the steps of the Court of Queen's Bench in Calgary as
Mr. Krieger did and announce they are going to flaunt the law by trafficking
illegal drugs, then we have to take notice."

Police visited him and laid charges.

Krieger was fine $350 last October after the 1997 incident when he also
announced he would be giving marijuana to another MS sufferer.

He will also appear in court in Regina next month for sentence after
pleading guilty to possession of marijuana with the intention of

What puzzles Beaton is that there is a Health Canada-approved pill called
Marinol on the market.

"It contains a medicinal element called THC -- or tetrahydrocannabinol --
that is an element of marijuana too," he says. "Now some reports say that
the hydroponic growth of marijuana has resulted in THC being produced at 700
per cent the levels of marijuana in the 1960s.

"When someone smokes the illegal drug marijuana, there are 2000 other
chemicals going into the person's system too. With Marinol, there is only

To be fair, doubts have been cast by some about Marinol's total
effectiveness and it may or may not have proved effective for Krieger.

But with marijuana, even the Multiple Sclerosis Society says there's no
proof to any medical benefits as Krieger claims.

So let's have a reality check.

Beaton says that marijuana is illegal and will remain so until research
shows the drug does indeed have medicinal properties and until, as a result,
legislation is passed in Parliament allowing the use of the drug as it now
does with addictive substances like morphine.

If Krieger wants to take chances with the law, it's up to him.

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Checked-by: Rolf Ernst