I attended Grant Krieger’s Supreme Court case Thursday morning. While to many this is a “pot case” it really had nothing to do with pot at all.
Grant Krieger has a court ordered lifetime exemption to use and cultivate cannabis. He was charged with trafficking, admitted he was helping sick people, and threw his mercy on a jury or his peers. After two people begged off the jury because they could not in good conscience convict Grant, the judge ordered the jury to convict him. After ten hours, the ten remaining jurors returned a grudging guilty verdict.
The Supreme Court has said there is no question an error occurred here. It is Canadian law that while you are not allowed to appeal to a jury for nullification, they may nullify a verdict if they wish to. There is no rational test for this since jury deliberations are strictly secret in Canada. Many of the precedents used date back years to when Henry Morgantler was acquitted by juries several for performing abortions ? which were strictly illegal at the time but accepted by the community.
Grant’s lawyer wants a new trial for him, with another jury, who would likely nullify again because of the nature of the case. In arguing against this, the Crown was making bizarre legal gymnastics, arguing that somehow since the jury returned a verdict, it doesn’t matter if the judge ordered them to convict, Grant still received a jury verdict and his rights aren’t violated. I guess they figure they have this one time only chance to nail him and get rid of this “troublemaker.”
Two telling things from the Crown was their attempt to downplay the significance of the two jurors on the morality of the situation (“oh, well, every juror has a heavy burden in any case, why would this be different”) and another time when they said that a ruling in favour of Grant wouldn’t “open up the floodgates” for a lot of other cases. He knows darn well it would, and many would be from other clubs if the police decided to get tough.
This could turn out to be a very decisive case, meaning that in the future, short of ending prohibition, at least compassion clubs that are operating in good faith will be left alone in the grey area. With about 90% support for medical marijuana in Canada a campaign to educate the other 10% would make a jury pool where club owners wouldn’t be subjected harassment by authorities.