More MS news articles for January 2001

Return jailed activist's pot, group urges

MS victim's supply worth $1,000 taken by Alberta Justice

Sunday 28 January 2001
Linda Slobodian
Calgary Herald; Southam Newspapers

Shivering demonstrators stood outside the Calgary Remand Centre on Saturday to protest the confiscation of jailed marijuana crusader Grant Krieger's pot.

Krieger was down the road at Spy Hill jail, where he was moved Jan. 25 to serve a 33-day sentence for not paying $1,750 in fines for breach of probation.

Twenty protesters eventually made their way there, waving placards that read: "Give Grant Back His Cannabis" and "Would You Withhold Insulin?"

Ken Plotnikoff, 49, shivered, but it wasn't the biting wind.

"I get muscle spasms in my back all the time because I have a spinal-cord injury," he said. "Cannabis helps, the spasms aren't as severe. Normally, they're debilitating," said Plotnikoff, confined to a wheelchair after breaking his neck in a swimming accident years ago.

"I'm here in support of Grant. He's got a good cause," he said.

Fred Sima, with the British Columbia Marijuana Party, came to Calgary just for the protest.

"I've never met Grant, but it's an atrocity what's going on," he said.

Last month, Krieger won a landmark Alberta Court of Queen's Bench ruling allowing him to grow and cultivate marijuana. The province is appealing.

Krieger, 46, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and smokes pot to alleviate pain and spasms, surrendered to police on Jan. 22, opting to do time rather than pay the fines.

He armed himself with a Ziploc bag stuffed with $1,000 worth of marijuana -- four times the legal amount considered possession with intent to traffic -- which he planned to smoke in jail.

Police, on the advice of federal Crown prosecutors, did not charge him. Alberta Justice took away his pot, saying contraband isn't allowed in jail.

This irony did not escape demonstrator Steve Sjalozki, 22.

"People in jail are doing a whole bunch of different drugs prescribed to them -- and drugs that aren't," he said.