Open letter to Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock

An edited version of this letter was published:

Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada)
Section: Letter of the Week
Pubdate: Sun, 03 Oct 1999
September 27, 1999

On June 26, 1999, a letter was faxed to Calgary Police Chief Christine Silverberg requesting a meeting with Universal Compassion Centre (UCC) directors to discuss the issue of a medicinal cannabis centre operating in the city . The letter is posted on our website at . Her "compassionate" response speaks for itself.

The police executed a search warrant on August 25 at the residence of Grant Krieger (a sufferer of multiple sclerosis) who was growing medicinal herbs. Grant had publicly declared he was growing cannabis for the UCC since June. The cannabis plants were removed by the police and he was held in custody.

As a direct result of his incarceration, Grant is now in frail health. A healthy person detained in jail will generally come out in the same shape they went in. But for an ill person to be in custody because of the medicine they use is definitely a case of cruel and unusual punishment. While in jail, without his medicine, it became necessary for Grant to use a wheelchair. Up until his arrest he was walking without assistance. Although he is walking again, he is still too weak to leave his home very often. Grant's body deteriorated within a span of days.

If this was the natural course of his disease, then all one could do is offer him sympathy and compassion. But this deterioration was caused by a law. A law that the police must enforce indiscriminately. This is reason enough for outrage and action on behalf of all ill people (who are probably living in every electoral district in the nation) whose lives could be in jeopardy because of this law.

For Grant, this is a double whammy. Not only must he deal with the consequences to his own health, but the destruction of the therapeutic cannabis also meant many others who rely on the UCC to maintain a better quality of life are now forced to live a substandard quality for no good reason.

Hear the anguish we hear when they relate how much harder it is to get through the day and night. One person had to go back to dragging himself across the floor; we placed suicide watches on others. What is your answer Allan? Giving them something that brought relief was our answer. Supply has always been sporadic, but when the garden which offered a solution was plundered ....and with it ... hope, we at the UCC were also victimized by the law.

The illegality of distributing cannabis was not considered. There has never been a recorded fatality in the 5 - 10,000 year history of this Natural Health Product, so there was never a danger someone would be harmed by ingesting it. In this regard, distributing aspirin is far more dangerous. The only danger associated with cannabis is the law prohibiting it.

So now it's time to tell us the answers. Why does the government bully sick people? What is gained by doing this? Why do people even have to be singled out to apply for a Section 56 exemption? The process is long and difficult and adds further stress to those who are least able to cope with it. Is this another form of cruel and unusual punishment?

Why is cannabis not re-classified under the new Natural Health Products branch which was created for herbs and natural medicines? That is what it truthfully is. Rather than being cozy in the Organization of American States (OAS) which facilitates this type of drug policy, why are we not relating more to our European roots where decriminalization (which is the first step toward regulation) is becoming more common? Why let geography dictate over conscience?

Grant recently told me the last thing he has to throw into this fight is his body - then he's given it everything he's got to give. What more do you want from Grant and the others that suffer the laws of this land? May you never have to walk in their shoes because many would trade bodies if they could.

Please answer our questions Mr. Rock . Time ran out for many of our loved ones and time is running out for many more. These people are at their end, and they have nothing left to lose. Their only hope is to enlighten you in their final days.

Debra Harper

Universal Compassion Centre

Calgary, Alberta

Compassion begins at home...     

[an error occurred while processing this directive]