CALGARY — A longtime advocate for the use of medical marijuana has agreed to give up a fight that has seen him battle the justice system as far as the Supreme Court.
Grant Krieger, who has for years vocally defended his right to provide marijuana to the sick, signed a legal document Tuesday pledging to stop growing or distributing it.
“I’ve hit the end of all my ropes and I’m just tired of it now,” he said in Calgary.
Krieger uses marijuana himself to treat symptoms of progressive multiple sclerosis. At one time, he also supplied more than 400 sick people with the drug through a compassion club.
As a result of Krieger’s promise, Alberta’s Court of Appeal has swapped a four-month jail sentence for 18 months of probation in a 2007 trafficking conviction.
Krieger was at first given jail time because he “stated he did not think he had done anything wrong and had no intention of closing his club (and) and confirmed that he would not desist from his campaign to distribute marijuana,” the appeal decision reads.
That stand was the continuation of a campaign that saw him defiant in court case after court case from his first trafficking conviction more than a decade ago.
He took one case all the way to the Supreme Court, where he was granted a new trial after the court ruled the trial judge had erred by directing the jury to find him guilty.
Krieger admitted Tuesday that he could no longer keep up the fight.
“It’s taken 13 years out of my life, destroyed my family, removed my driver’s license,” he said. “It’s cost me a phenomenal amount of money, I’m in hock up to my eyeballs.”
Krieger maintains the federal government’s medicinal marijuana program is a joke. He refuses to use their marijuana himself, saying it’s grown in a dirty mine shaft and irradiated.
It’s next to impossible for most sick people to even have the option, he said, as doctors are extremely reluctant to sign off on the therapy.
And although he technically has the federal government’s permission to use marijuana legally as a treatment, he said has been backed into a corner.
He said he’ll now buy the drug — which enables him to continue to walk and function despite his debilitating disease — “on the black market, like everybody else.”
“The government themselves have determined that there is medical use in marijuana because they’ve created a system whereby it is available,” said Krieger’s lawyer, John Hooker.
“If that’s the case, why not make it as easy to obtain as any other serious pharmaceutical such as morphine?”
Krieger is still facing sentencing in one outstanding trafficking case in Winnipeg.
After that’s dealt with, he’s done trying to change the system.
“I’m just tired. I don’t have the financing to go forward anymore, and I really don’t feel like going forward anymore,” he said quietly.