All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for January 2004

Client backs centre

Saturday, January 10, 2004
Sheri Block
Regina Leader-Post

A Regina man with severe multiple sclerosis (MS) is proclaiming the benefits of a new centre operating outside the law that provides medicinal marijuana for people with proven medical conditions.

Thirty-seven-year-old Clarence, who did not want his last name used, has been using the services of the Krieger Foundation for about five months and says it's a safer, more affordable way to access medicinal marijuana.

Clarence was diagnosed with MS at the age of 23 and was declared a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair, shortly after. He started smoking pot a few years later and has been wheelchair-free for more than 10 years.

"When I'm not smoking it, I cannot distinguish the difference between a dime and a toonie in my hand. After I smoke, I can reach into my pocket and pick out any coin ... I regain feeling, therefore it makes me able to do my job," said Clarence, who drives a truck for a living. "If I don't smoke it, I don't sleep at night."

A branch of the Krieger Foundation, which operates at an undisclosed location in the city, was opened in August by cannabis crusader Grant Krieger, a former Saskatchewan resident.

Although the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in December 2003 that Krieger is legally entitled to produce and consume marijuana for himself, he cannot distribute it to others.

Under Health Canada regulations, a person can only legally possess or grow marijuana if they submit an application and are granted a licence. Licensed growers can only grow for one other person, and companies or businesses who distribute to more than one person are illegal.

The Regina Police Service said this week it wasn't aware the foundation had been opened. Cpl. Rob Willis said police will not investigate unless they receive a complaint or information that illegal activity is taking place.

An employee of the Krieger Foundation said the centre already has 32 clients in Regina.

Anne, who did not want her last name used, said under the foundation's rules, clients must submit an application, which includes a signature from a physician indicating the client has a medical ailment like epilepsy, AIDS or cancer.

Once a person is approved by the foundation's head office in Calgary, the client can receive medical cannabis from the organization in exchange for a donation.

The Krieger Foundation said applications are available from local offices of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the Canadian Mental Health Association, but a spokesperson for the MS Society said Friday that the forms are not available at their offices.

A representative from the Mental Health Association said the applications were available at one time.

Copyright © 2004, The Leader-Post (Regina)