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Dope activist spared jail time

By admin | December 24, 2009
No real victims, judge tells court
By: Mike McIntyre

A Manitoba judge has cut a break to a medical marijuana crusader found guilty of trafficking pot to numerous clients across Canada. Grant Krieger received a suspended sentence with nine months of
probation Monday — a far cry from the jail sentence he feared he might receive and
predicted would kill him.

“Mr. Krieger is not like most of the drug offenders we sentence in
this court,” Queen’s
Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg said. “While Mr. Krieger’s actions were
illegal, many,
perhaps most, would say they are not immoral. Indeed he has no real

Krieger, 54, was convicted last year of possession for the purpose of
following a high-profile trial.

The Calgary resident has been battling multiple sclerosis since 1978
and says his only
relief comes from smoking and ingesting cannabis.

Krieger admitted he broke the law but was seeking to be acquitted on
grounds. Jurors took only about 30 minutes to reach their unanimous
guilty verdict.

Krieger — who started the Grant W. Krieger Cannabis Research
Foundation — testified
how his life was in a rapid downward spiral and even included a
suicide attempt prior to
discovering the magic of marijuana. “Without it, I wouldn’t be
standing here before you
today,” he told jurors. “I’d be in a wheelchair or dead right now.”

Krieger said his many customers also suffer from chronic pain, disease
and even terminal
illness. They come to him looking to improve their quality of life. He
admits selling
pot to dozens of people across Canada — including several in
Manitoba, which resulted
in his 2004 arrest near Headingley — but insists there is a major
difference between
him and a garden-variety drug dealer.

The judge agreed.

“Mr. Krieger provided people with marijuana only where he was
satisfied they suffered
from a serious illness such as cancer. For example, he once turned
down a person who
sought his assistance for a broken arm,” the judge said Monday. “While
he might be
considered reckless by effectively ‘playing doctor,’ there is no
evidence that he caused
anyone any harm.”

The Crown’s argued that although Krieger had clearance to possess pot
for his own health
reasons, he didn’t have permission from the federal government to sell
marijuana for
medicinal reasons. There is a program in place to distribute the drug
to those who get
special clearance from doctors, but Krieger said the system is flawed.
He said most
doctors are afraid to make such a declaration.

Krieger ripped the federal government for the quality of its medicinal
produced in Flin Flon.

“It’s grown in a dirty mine shaft,” Krieger told jurors. He said the
drug is overly
processed and diluted by the time it gets to those in need.

Krieger said his pot is prime quality, especially when extracted and
reduced to
“cannabis butter.” He denied profiting from sales, saying he’s “in the
red” and
frequently gives away drugs to those on fixed incomes who desperately
need it.

Krieger announced earlier this year he was shutting down his
foundation. The move
prompted the Alberta Court of Appeal to replace a four-month jail
sentence, with 18
months of probation, on a similar drug charge to the one in Manitoba.

Greenberg noted Monday the federal government made it easier for those
with serious
medical issues to get pot since Krieger started his foundation.

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