More MS news articles for September 2002

Winnipeg medical marijuana crusader charged

Thursday, August 29
Canadian Press

Winnipeg The founder of Winnipeg's first club for medicinal marijuana use said he was the victim of a home invasion this week but it was the police who walked away with most of his valuables.

Chris Buors, 44, said three masked men with crowbars broke into his north end home early Thursday morning, but took only an inexpensive stereo system.

Mr. Buors wasn't hurt in the incident. However, he said that after the police finished investigating the crime, he was charged with cultivation and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

Police also seized 26 marijuana plants and hydroponic equipment valued at $2,500.

"A neighbour must have heard the breaking glass and called police, but I asked them not to come in," said Mr. Buors, founder of the Compassion Club.

"I told them they really didn't want to go there, but they insisted."

Mr. Buors said while this is only his second arrest involving marijuana growing, it's the first time he's been busted since he began the Compassion Club last year.

Mr. Buors' Compassion Club is one of about a dozen such clubs across the country where people buy discounted marijuana for medical use.

The clubs cater to people with painful ailments who wouldn't normally come into contact with drug dealers or their environs, but who believe that smoking marijuana provides the only real relief from the pain they are suffering.

Mr. Buors said his club has 25 members suffering a variety of illnesses including Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and depression.

Ottawa amended federal drug laws last summer to allow a limited number of patients suffering from such ailments to obtain a special exemption that allows them to possess marijuana for their personal use.

About 255 people across the country have since obtained the controversial exemptions, but many doctors are reluctant to prescribe marijuana for their patients, either because it remains an illegal drug or because they believe any health benefits are outweighed by the damage caused by smoking it.

Mr. Buors said his club includes two people with the special exemption, but added the rest can't get marijuana or don't feel comfortable buying it from drug dealers.

A Calgary man who operated a branch of the Compassion Club, Grant Krieger, was acquitted by a jury June 2001 for selling marijuana to members. The Crown is appealing the case.

Mr. Buors said he's never been bothered by the police since the club was founded last November, adding investigating officers this week were polite and professional.

"They were just doing their jobs," Mr. Buors said. "My beef is with the prime minister of Canada, who is the only one who can change the laws."

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